Clear and approachable local election content for candidates

Posted on June 13, 2024

person raising their hand at a podium

There’s a big election in November. While the news focuses on the presidential election, you most likely have local ballot measures and open seats on your City Council.

Our communities are stronger when more people run for local office. But getting people interested in running for City Council can be hard. The process can feel daunting and confusing.

Here are some tips for writing local candidate content.

Break up content into multiple pages

The nomination process can feel opaque and campaign finance rules can be overwhelming.

Instead of cramming information into a single web page or PDF, consider breaking the topics up. This will make it feel more manageable and answer questions candidates have along the way.

Here are some sample page titles to help you organize your nomination and campaign information:

  • How to run for elected office
  • Candidate filing dates and deadlines
  • File your candidate nomination documents
  • Complete your official filing paper
  • Write your candidate statement
  • Write your ballot designation
  • Running a political campaign: what you need to know
  • Campaign finance rules and process
  • Campaign finance forms and deadlines
  • File your campaign finance statements
  • Rules for campaign signs

Use action pages for tasks

There’s a lot to do if you’re running for office. Campaign activities have strict rules and deadlines. Action pages help you structure information so people understand:

  • What they need to know (cost, deadlines, penalties)
  • Steps and order to do things

Here is some sample content for filing candidate nomination documents.

Page title: File your candidate nomination documents


If you want to be a candidate, you need to file several documents so your name will appear on the ballot.

Need to know

  • Deadline for the November 2024 election is [date] at 5 p.m.
  • Documents need to be filed in a single packet; you cannot submit documents individually.
  • Some documents are mandatory and others are optional.

Before you start

The nomination process can be complicated and filing deadlines [link] are strict. It is a good idea to file your candidate paperwork early. This way, you usually have enough time to correct any mistakes before the deadline.


  1. Make an appointment to get your candidate paperwork. State law requires us to issue candidate paperwork in-person. You need to make an appointment between [date] to [date] with the City Clerk. The appointment takes 30 to 60 minutes. Schedule your appointment by email [link] or call [phone number].
  2. Fill out your official filing form. Learn how to complete your official filing form. [link]
    • Signatures (at least 20, but no more than 30 registered [town] voters)
    • Circulator’s Affidavit
    • Nominee’s Affidavit
    • Candidate’s Oath of Allegiance
  3. Complete the ballot designation worksheet. The ballot designation goes under your name on the ballot. It describes your occupation or if you are an incumbent.  Learn how to write your ballot designation and download the worksheet. [link]
  4. Write your candidate statement. Your candidate statement helps voters learn your qualifications. It’s included in the Voter Information Pamphlet that’s mailed to all voters in [town]. There are content and formatting rules. Learn how to write your candidate statement. [link]
  5. Complete your statement of economic interest. State law requires candidates to disclose investments and interests in real property. This is also referred to as a Form 700. Refer to the FPPC website [link] and their Form 700 Reference Pamphlet [link] for instructions on how to complete your statement. You can file this online. [link]
  6. Sign the Fair Campaign Practices code (or choose not to). The Fair Campaign Practices code [link] is a voluntary pledge. If you want to subscribe to it, sign and date the document.
  7. File your completed documents by the deadline. The deadline to file your nomination documents is [date] by 5 p.m. You need to do this in-person at the City Clerk’s office. Here’s a list of what you need to submit together in a single packet:
    • Official filing form
    • Ballot designation worksheet
    • Candidate statement form (electronic and hard copy)
    • Statement of economic interest (Form 700)
    • Code of Fair Campaign Practices
    • Candidate contact information

What’s next

When you file, you’ll take the oath of allegiance in the presence of the City Clerk. You and the Clerk will sign the form verifying the oath.

If you file early, we can verify the signatures and let you know if there are any issues. If needed, you can collect more signatures.

If an incumbent who is eligible to seek reelection does not file nomination papers by the deadline, the deadline for that office only is extended to [date].

There are rules you need to know if you are running a political campaign. This includes financial contributions and disclosure, signs, and campaign activities. You may need a campaign treasurer and designated bank account. Learn how to run a political campaign. [link]

Get help

  • [phone]
  • [email]

Promote voter registration

Don’t just link to the State or County voter registration website. These sites can often be clunky and confusing.

Instead, speak to your local audience with important messages like:

  • If you recently moved here, you need to re-register.
  • You need to be 18 years or older on election day, but you can pre-register if you are 16 or 17 years old.
  • Find a polling place close to your home or work.
  • If you are out of the country, you can request your ballot abroad.

Write in plain language

Plain language is writing that is clear, straightforward, and concise. It’s understanding something the first time you read it.

Use short sentences, pronouns, and the active voice. Avoid election jargon, or at least define it. This will help clarify the steps people need to take and the rules they need to follow.

Learn more

Help with election content

We can help write and design website content for the upcoming election. Contact us to get started.


Subscribe to the Department of Civic Things newsletter

Close window