The Clean Elections Act provides a clean funding program for statewide and legislative candidates who agree to forgo special interest and high dollar contributions. This allows participating candidates to directly connect with the voters in their district so they may raise a minimum number of qualifying contributions to receive clean campaign funding.
Candidates can choose to run as a traditional candidate or a participating Clean Elections candidate. Candidates who choose to raise private campaign funds, subject to contribution limits, are known as non-participating/traditional candidates.
Candidates who opt into the Clean Funding program are known as participating candidates. Participating candidates agree to adhere to the Act and Commission rules in return for receiving funding from the Citizens Clean Elections Fund.
Qualifying for Clean Funding
Step 1. Applying to be a participating candidate
Candidates who wish to participate in the Clean Funding program must file an Application for Certification before July 28, 2020 (the end of the qualifying period). The application is generated in the Secretary of State's Campaign Finance Reporting System and the candidate must file the original, notarized application directly with the Secretary of State. The Clean Elections Commission will notify candidates within 7 days if their application is approved.
Step 2. Collecting $5 Qualifying Contributions
Candidates can collect $5 Qualifying Contributions during the qualifying period (August 1, 2019 - July 28, 2020). Only a qualified elector, who is properly registered to vote in the district of the office a candidate is seeking, may give a $5 Qualifying Contribution. A candidate can receive a $5 Qualifying Contribution from a qualified elector regardless of the contributor's party affiliation. Candidates must collect a minimum number of qualifying contributions, depending on the office they are seeking.The Commission recommends you collect 20% more than the required amount.
$5 Qualifying Contribution forms will be disqualified if:
- they are unsigned
- they are undated or incorrectly dated
- the contributor is not registered to vote on the date the form is signed
- the contributor is not registered to vote in the district on the date the form is signed
- the original signature is not submitted to the Secretary of State's Office
County Recorder Offices may have public terminals available for candidates to verify registration information. Candidates can also use the E-Qual system
to collect contributions electronically.
Step 3. Applying for Clean Funding
Candidates apply for funding at the Secretary of State's Office. When applying, they must file the following documents:
- Application for Funding (found in the SOS campaign finance reporting system);
- List of All $5 Qualifying Contributors (make sure you have entered the $5 qualifying contributions into the SOS campaign finance reporting system);
- Original $5 Qualifying Contribution Forms (sorted by county if your district has more than one county or you are running for a statewide office);
- A single check made payable to the Clean Elections Fund for the total amount of the $5 qualifying contributions you are submitting (Please wait to fill in the check until the SOS staff gives you the official number of $5 qualifying contributions submitted);
Note: Candidates may apply for funding prior to the filing period of March 7th, if they submit the following along with their application for funding:
Beginning Monday, March 23rd ALL Participating Candidates must mail or use the Drop Off box located in the first floor lobby at 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, to file their original $5 qualifying contribution forms, qualifying contribution check made payable to the Clean Elections Fund, as well as their Application for Funding, in addition to their petition signatures to the Secretary of State's office. Each candidate will be able to schedule a one-on-one phone appointment with a team member to review the process before the candidate mails their filing. The Secretary of State MUST receive your candidate filing information by April 6th. For more information please visit the Secretary of State's page athttps://azsos.gov/elections/candidate-filing. We recommend you file your application for funding as soon as possible. ALL Clean Elections Funding will be sent to candidates via FedEx.
- Nomination Paper (A.R.S. 16-311);**
- Nomination Petitions and Signatures;**
- Financial Disclosure Statement.**
Office of the Secretary of State
1700 W Washington St Fl 7
Phoenix AZ 85007-2808
Step 4. W-9 Form
The only paper you need to file with the Clean Elections Commission is the W9 - Vendor Authorization
. Please bring the original document to our office as soon as possible. The state cannot issue a check to a candidate without the W-9 form on file.
Step 5. Verification Process
Candidates will usually be notified within 10 business days if their submission passed the random sample verification process. If the submission passed, Clean Elections will contact the candidate when their funding check is available.
If the submission failed the random sample, and the candidate goes to a full set review, the candidate will usually be notified within 20 business days of their original submission. Beginning March 23rd (if the submission passed), ALL Clean Elections Funding will be sent to candidates via FedEx.
Independent candidates are eligible for clean funding and will receive 70% of the combined primary and general election funding amounts. For example, in 2018 a partisan legislative candidate would have received primary funding of $16,995 and general funding of $25,493, for a combined total of $42,488. A legislative, independent candidate is therefore eligible to have received $29,742 (70% of $42,488). Independent candidates receive their funding as soon as they qualify.
Contributions & Expenditures
Contributions and Funding
The table below identifies the minimum number of $5 qualifying contributions required to receive clean funding, caps on early contributions, and funding amounts. Candidates will receive primary election funding as soon as they qualify and general election funding will be disbursed at the start of the general election period.
to view the 2019-2020 Clean Elections Act Biennial Adjustments.
Early contributions are raised and spent through July 28, 2020:
- Individuals may contribute up to a maximum of $170.
- Contributions from political action committees (PACs), businesses, corporations, political parties, and labor unions are prohibited.
- Candidates may contribute his or her personal funds up to a maximum amount of $770 for candidates for the legislature and $1,520 for candidates running for a statewide office.
The personal contribution limit includes contributions received from certain family members. A traditional candidate who later chooses to run as a participating candidate may not have spent contributions exceeding the individual early contribution limit of $170 or exceeding the aggregate early contribution limit for the specified office.
A participating candidate must adhere to expenditure limits, and may not make expenditures in excess of the cash on hand. This includes both early contributions received and candidate funding (A.R.S. 16-941).
Please refer to the Act & Rules Manual for further information on expenditures.