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Funding Options

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. For the full definition of a participating candidate please reference our 2018 Candidate Information Sheet or the 2018 Citizens Clean Elections Guide.


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 August 21, 2018 (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, 2017 - August 21, 2018). 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.

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 April 30th, if they submit the following along with their application for funding:
  • Nomination Paper (A.R.S. 16-311);**
  • Nomination Petitions and Signatures;**
  • Financial Disclosure Statement.**

Click here to schedule a filing appointment at the Secretary of State's Office in order to submit your application for funding.

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 after you have applied for funding. 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. If the submission passed, Clean Elections will contact the candidate when their funding check is available.

See the 2018 Citizens Clean Elections Guide for more information on the verification process.

Independent Candidates

Independent candidates are eligible for clean funding and will receive 70% of the combined primary and general election funding amounts. For example, a partisan legislative candidate will receive 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 receive $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.

Office$5 QualEarly
Contr.
Primary
Funding
General
Funding
Independents
Governor4,000$58,810$839,704$1,259,556$1,469,482
Secretary of State2,500$55,630$271,589$326,384$380,781
Attorney General2,500$55,630$271,589$326,384$380,781
Treasurer1,500$27,811$108,779$163,169$190,364
Sup. of Public Instruction1,500$27,811$108,779$163,169$190,364
Corporation Commission1,500$27,811$108,779$163,169$190,364
Mine Inspector500$13,909$54,405$81,608$95,209
Legislature200$4,345$16,995$25,493$29,742


Early Contributions

Early contributions are collected through August 21, 2018:

  • Individuals may contribute up to a maximum of $160.
  • 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 $740 for candidates for the legislature and $1,460 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 $160 or exceeding the aggregate early contribution limit for the specified office.

Expenditures

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.