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 2021. 

Which elected offices are eligible for Democracy Voucher funding? 
The offices eligible for funding include the city attorney, two city council at-large positions, and the mayor's race.

When can candidates begin qualifying for the Democracy Voucher Program?
Candidates can begin collecting qualifying contributions for the Democracy Voucher Program beginning January 1, 2020.

How many qualifying contributions and signatures are required to qualify for public campaign funding? 

PositionNumber of Qualified Contributions 
City Attorney 400 qualified contributions & 400 qualified signatures
City Council At-Large 400 qualified contributions & 400 qualified signatures
City Council District 150 qualified contributions & 150 qualified signatures (half must come from within the district)
Mayor 600 qualified contributions & 600 qualified signatures

What are qualifying contributions?
Qualifying contributions are donations from Seattle residents who are legally able to donate to political campaigns under federal law.

Contributions can be from U.S. 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 the individual contribution limits.

What are the new contribution limits?
Candidates in the program are subject to contribution limits of $300 from individual donors when running for City Attorney or City Council (not including $100 in Democracy Vouchers). Participating mayoral candidates are subject to contribution limits of $550 (including $100 in Democracy Vouchers).

Candidates not participating in the Democracy Voucher Program have a contribution limit of $550 from individual donors.

What are the campaign limits for candidates participating in the program?
Candidates participating in the Democracy Voucher Program must honor the following campaign limits for each office. These limits include contributions from Democracy Vouchers and monetary contributions.

A candidate may be released from the campaign limit by appealing to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.

Campaign Limits for Participating CandidatesCity AttorneyCity Council
At-large
City Council
District
Mayor

Campaign Spending Limits (Primary Election Only) $150,000 $150,000 $75,000 $400,000
Combined Campaign Spending Limits for Primary and General Election $300,000 $300,000 $150,000 $800,000

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:

Position Minimum Contributors
City Attorney 50 contributors
City Council At-large 50 contributors
City Council District 25 contributors
Mayor 100 contributors

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.