Candidate FAQs

How do I start my campaign?
Before starting a campaign, interested candidates are encouraged to contact Polly Grow, the Campaign Finance Auditor and Trainer, for a complete training on Seattle's campaign disclosure rules and regulations. The campaign and candidate resources page can also help get you started. 

When is the next City of Seattle election?
The next City of Seattle election is in 2019. The seven city council district races are eligible for campaign funding through the Democracy Voucher program.  

How many qualifying contributions are required to qualify for public campaign funding?
Candidates running for a city council district position must collect at least 150 qualifying contributions from Seattle residents. Seventy-five contributions must come from within the candidate's district. 

What are qualifying contributions?

  • Qualifying contributions are donations from eligible Seattle residents who are legally able to give money to political campaigns under Federal law. Contributions can be from citizens, U.S. Nationals, or lawful permanent residents ("green card holders"). Contributors must live in Seattle and be at least 18 years of age.
  • Qualifying contributions must be at least $10, but may not exceed $250.

What qualifies as a "debate" for the Democracy Voucher program requirement?
A debate is a live event, open to the general public, at which all candidates who show minimal public support have an opportunity to respond to questions. Each candidate must be given an equal opportunity to participate.

To show minimal public support, a candidate's campaign reports filed with the Commission must show no fewer than the following number of contributors 72 hours prior to the debate: Mayor: 100 At-large City Councilmember:50

District City Councilmember: 25

City Attorney: 50

Nothing in this rule relieves public agencies that sponsor debates from responsibility for ensuring that all candidates for particular races are invited to participate. Read more about the rules in the Seattle Elections Code.

What is the residency requirement for candidates?
Candidates must reside in the district they wish to represent for at least 120 days prior to filing for office. The deadline for residency is January 17, 2019.  

When may candidates begin qualifying for the Democracy Voucher Program?
Candidates may begin collecting qualifying contributions for the Democracy Voucher Program beginning January 1, 2018.