Basic Steps in Running for Office

The City of Gilroy is a charter city. The charter establishes the City’s elections shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California.

It is easy to get started running for office. In order to be eligible to hold office as a member of the City Council, a person must be qualified to vote in a Gilroy election prior to the last day for filing of nomination papers as determined by applicable State law. In order to qualify as a registered voter in Gilroy, you must be a United States citizen; a resident within the city limits of Gilroy; at least 18 years of age on the date of the next election; and, not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction. Prior to issuing nomination papers, the registration of all prospective candidates will be verified with the assistance of the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (Gilroy City Charter Section 403).

During a specific period known as the “Nomination Period,” you may obtain your official papers from the Gilroy City Clerk. Once your papers are complete, turn them in to the Gilroy City Clerk.

Before starting your campaign, you will need to become familiar with several other requirements. This is not an all-inclusive list, so please be sure to check with the Gilroy City Clerk on other requirements.

Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Rules and Requirements


You and your treasurer will need to become conversant with the rules of the Political Reform Act, which is the State law that regulates contributions and expenditures for elective offices in California. The Fair Political Practices Commission (the FPPC) has regulatory responsibility and authority for the Act. The day-to-day implementation of the Act for City offices is the responsibility of the Gilroy City Clerk.

FPPC manuals and forms are available from the FPPC website or from the Gilroy City Clerk’s Office.

If you plan on receiving or spending more than $2,000 on your campaign, here are some things you’ll need to do:

  • Obtain a copy of Campaign Manual 2 from the FPPC website or from the City Clerk; read it and give a copy to you Treasurer.
  • Check with your City Clerk to become familiar with any special requirements your City has regarding campaign contributions and expenditures, particularly those related to contribution limits and times during which contribution may be accepted.
  • Before you collect or spend any funds in connection with your campaign, file a From 501, Candidate Intention Statement.
  • Open a bank account for your committee.
  • Within 10 days of receiving $2,000 in contributions, file a Form 410, Statement of Organization.
  • Become familiar with campaign report filing requirement and deadlines.
  • Attend an FPPC seminar (information available on the FPPC website or call the FPPC at 916-322-5660).
  1. Thai Pham

    City Clerk
    Phone: 408-846-0204

How to Run for Office

Receiving Funds Prior to Nomination Papers 

Every prospective candidate is able to file their FPPC Form 501 prior to the nomination period. A candidate must file this form for each election, including reelection to the same office. File your Form 501 with the City Clerk before you solicit or receive any contributions or before you make expenditures from personal funds on behalf of your candidacy.

Once you receive contributions from others totaling $2,000 or more in a calendar year to spend on California elections, you must register yourself with California Secretary of State and report all receipts and expenditures with FPPC Form 410. “Contributions” include monetary payments, loans and non-monetary goods and services received or made for a political purpose. File this form within 10 days of receiving $2,000 in contributions. Include a $50 payment made payable to the Secretary of State. You will also need to provide a copy with the City Clerk who will receive the original campaign statements.

Nomination Papers

Every election starts with a “Nominating period.” This is the period of time that begins 113 days before the day of the election and ends 88 days before the day of the election. This is the only period of time during which you can obtain “nomination papers,” which are the forms you need to submit in order to run for office. Contact your City Clerk for an appointment.

Obtain Signatures

Obtain the signatures of a minimum of 20, maximum of 30 registered voters on your nomination papers.

Ballot Designation

This is the word or group of not more than three words which will appear on the ballot under your name. It designates your principal profession, vocation occupation, subject to certain requirement of the Elections Code.

Candidate’s Statement

Start thinking about what you want your candidate’s statement to say. Your statement is limited to 200 words, as defined by the Elections Code.

Campaign Signs

Check with the City Clerk regarding the City’s political sign ordinance and requirements.