CAMPAIGN PRACTICES

 

MASS MAILING

Mass mailing; requirements (Gov. Code 84305)

Each candidate filing a Declaration of Candidacy is to be apprised of Government Code 84305, which is produced here for your information:

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), no candidate or committee shall send a mass mailing unless the name, street address, and city of the candidate or committee are shown on the outside of each piece of mail in the mass mailing and on at least one of the inserts included within each piece of mail of such mailing in no less than 6-point type which shall be in a color or print which contrasts with the background as to be easily legible. A post office box may be stated in lieu of a street address if the organization's address is a matter of public record with the Secretary of State.

(b) If the sender of the mass mailing is a single candidate or committee, the name, street address, and city of the candidate or committee need only be shown on the outside of each piece of mail.

(c) If the sender of a mass mailing is a controlled committee, the name of the person controlling the committee shall be included in addition to the information required by subdivision (a).

Mass mailing definition (Gov. Code 82041.5)

"Mass Mailing" means over two hundred substantially similar pieces of mail, but does not include a form letter or other mail which is sent in response to an unsolicited request, letter or other inquiry.

Mass mailing by incumbents (Gov. Code 89001)

No newsletter or other mass mailing shall be sent at public expense.

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SLATE MAILERS

Slate mailer definition (Gov. Code 82048.3)

"Slate Mailer" means a mass mailing which supports or opposes a total of four or more candidates or ballot measures.

Slate mailer organization (Gov. Code 82048.4)

(a) "Slate mailer organization" means, except as provided in subdivision (b), any person who, directly or indirectly, does all of the following:

(1) Is involved in the production of one or more slate mailers and exercises control over the selection of the candidates and measures to be supported or opposed in slate mailers.

(2) Receives or is promised payments totaling $500 or more in a calendar year for the production of one or more slate mailers.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a slate mailer organization shall not include any of the following:

(1) A candidate or officeholder or a candidate's or officeholder's controlled committee.

(2) An official committee of any political party.

(3) A legislative caucus committee.

(4) A committee primarily formed to support or oppose a candidate, officeholder, or ballot measure.

(c) The production and distribution of slate mailers by a slate mailer organization shall not be considered making contributions or expenditures for purposes of subdivision (b) or (c) of 82013. If a slate mailer organization makes contributions or expenditures other than by producing or distributing slate mailers, and it reports those contributions and expenditures pursuant to '84218 and 84219, no additional campaign reports shall be required of the slate mailer organization pursuant to 84200 or 84200.5.

Slate mailer requirements (Gov. Code 84305.5)

(a) No slate mailer organization or committee primarily formed to support or oppose one or more ballot measures shall send a slate mailer unless:

(1) The name, street address, and city of the slate mailer organization or committee primarily formed to support or oppose one or more ballot measures are shown on the outside of each piece of slate mail and on at least one of the inserts included with each piece of slate mail in no less than 8-point Roman type which shall be in color or print which contrasts with the background so as to be easily legible. A post office box may be stated in lieu of a street address if the street address of the slate mailer organization or committee primarily formed to support or oppose one or more ballot measures is a matter of public record with the Secretary of State's Political Reform Division.

(2) At the top or bottom of the front side or surface of at least one insert or at the top or bottom of one side or surface of a postcard or other self-mailer, there is a notice in at least 8-point Roman, boldface type, which shall be in a color or print which contrasts with the background so as to be easily legible, and in a printed or drawn box and set apart from any other printed matter. The notice shall consist of the following statement:

NOTICE TO VOTERS

This document was prepared by (insert name of slate mailer organization or committee primarily formed to support or oppose one or more ballot measures), not an official political party organization. Appearance in this mailer does not necessarily imply endorsement of, or opposition to, any issues set forth with this mailer. Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure which is designated by an *.

(3) The name, street address, and city of the slate mailer organization or committee primarily formed to support or oppose one or more ballot measures as required by paragraph (1) and the notice required by paragraph (2) may appear on the same side or surface of an insert.

(4) Each candidate and each ballot measure that has paid to appear in the slate mailer is designated by *. Any candidate or ballot measure that has not paid to appear in the slate mail is not designated by *.

The * required by this subdivision shall be of the same type size, type style, color or contrast, and legibility as is used for the name of the candidate or the ballot measure name or number and position advocated to which the * designation applies except that in no case shall the * be required to be larger than 10-point boldface type. The designation shall immediately follow the name of the candidate, or the name or number and position advocated on the ballot measure where the designation appears in the slate of candidates and measures. If there is no slate listing, the designation shall appear at least once in at least 8-point boldface type, immediately following the name of the candidate, or the name or number and position advocated on the ballot measure.

(5) The name of any candidate appearing in the slate mailer who is a member of a political party differing from the political party which the mailer appears by representation or indicia to represent is accompanied, immediately below the name, by the party designation of the candidate, in no less than 9-point Roman type which shall be a color or print that contrasts with the background so as to be easily legible. The designation shall not be required in the case of candidates for nonpartisan office.

(b) For purposes of the designations required by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), the payment of any sum made reportable by subdivision (c) of 84219 by or at the behest of a candidate or committee, whose name or position appears in the mailer, to the slate mailer organization or committee primarily formed to support or oppose one or more ballot measures, shall constitute a payment to appear, requiring the * designation. The payment shall also be deemed to constitute authorization to appear in the mailer.

(c) A slate mailer that complies with this section shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of 20003 and 20004 of the Elections Code. [Sections were repealed in Ch. 1189, 1994)

(See the Information Manual issued by the Fair Political Practices Commission for campaign disclosure reporting requirements in connection with slate mailers.)

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NOMINATIONS

Fictitious name to nomination petition (Elections Code 18200)

Every person who subscribes to any nomination petition a fictitious name, or who intentionally subscribes thereto the name of another, or who causes another to subscribe a fictitious name to a nomination petition, is guilty of a felony and is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years.

Defacing or destroying a nomination paper (Elections Code 18201)

Any person who falsely makes or fraudulently defaces or destroys all or any part of a nomination paper, is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Deliberate failure to file nomination paper (Elections Code 18202)

Every person acting on behalf of a candidate is guilty of a misdemeanor who deliberately fails to file at the proper time and the proper place any nomination paper or declaration of candidacy in his or her possession that is entitled to be filed under the provisions of this code.

False declaration of candidacy (Elections Code 18203)

Any person who files or submits for filing a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy knowing that it or any part of it has been made falsely is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Suppression of nomination paper. (Elections Code 18204)

Any person who willfully suppresses all or any part of a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy either before or after filing is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Paying candidates to withdraw (Elections Code 18205)

A person shall not directly or through any other person advance, pay, solicit, or receive or cause to be advanced, paid, solicited, or received any money or other valuable consideration to or for the use of any person in order to induce a person not to become or to withdraw as a candidate for public office. Violation of this section shall be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years.

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CODE OF FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES

Chapter 855, Statutes of 1982, established a Code of Fair Campaign Practices which could be voluntarily subscribed to by candidates for public office.

The County Clerk is required to provide each individual who files nomination papers or other papers evidencing intentions to become a candidate for public office with a copy of the provisions of the Chapter and a form on which to subscribe to the code.

Subscription to the code is voluntary. Completed forms are to be filed with the County Clerk and shall be retained for public inspection until 30 days after the election. (Elections Code 20400 - 20444)

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MISREPRESENTATION BY CANDIDATES

Misleading of voters; incumbency; public officer (Elections Code 18350)

Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who, with intent to mislead the voters in connection with his or her campaign for nomination or election to a public office or in connection with the campaign or another person for nomination or election to a public office, shall do either of the following acts:

(a) Assume, pretend, or imply, by his or her statements or conduct, that he or she is the incumbent of a public office when that is not the case.

(b) Assume, pretend, or imply, by his or her statements or conduct, that he or she has been acting in the capacity of a public officer when that is not the case.

Any violation of this section may be enjoined in a civil action brought by any candidate for the public office involved.

False statements in candidate statement; fine (Elections Code 18351)

Any candidate in an election or incumbent in a recall election who knowingly makes a false statement of a material fact in a candidate's statement prepared pursuant to 11327 or 13307, with the intent to mislead the voters in connection with his or her campaign for nomination or election to a nonpartisan office is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.

Representation requirements (Elections Code 20007)

No candidate or committee in his or her behalf shall represent in connection with an election campaign either orally or in campaign material, that the candidate has the support of a committee or organization that includes as part of its name the name or any variation upon the name of a qualified political party with which the candidate is not affiliated, together with the words "county committee," "central committee," "county," or any other term that might tend to mislead the voters into believing that the candidate has the support of that party's county central committee or state central committee, when that is not the case.

This section shall not be construed to prevent a candidate or committee from representing that the candidate has the support of a committee or group of voters affiliated with another political party, which committee or group is identified by the name of that party, where the name of the committee or group also includes the name of the candidate.

Any member of a central committee or state central committee may commence an action in the superior court to enjoin misrepresentation by a candidate or committee in his or her behalf, in the manner prohibited by this section, to the effect that the candidate has the support of the state or county central committee involved.

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POLITICAL ADVERTISING

Political advertisement requirements (Elections Code 20008)

Any paid political advertisement that refers to an election or to any candidate for state or local elective office and that is contained in or distributed with a newspaper, shall bear on each surface or page thereof, in type or lettering at least half as large as the type of lettering of the advertisement or in 10-point Roman type, whichever is larger, the words "Paid Political Advertisement." Such words shall be set apart from any other printed matter.

As used in this section "paid political advertisement" shall mean and shall be limited to published statements paid for by advertisers for purposes of supporting or defeating any person who has filed for an elective state or local office.

False or forged campaign materials (Penal Code 115.2)

No person shall publish or cause to be published, with actual knowledge, and intent to deceive, any campaign advertisement containing false or fraudulent depictions, or false or fraudulent representations, of official public documents or purported official public documents.

For purposes of this section, "campaign advertisement" means any communication directed to voters by means of a mass mailing as defined in 82041.5 of the Government Code, a paid newspaper advertisement, an outdoor advertisement, or any other printed matter, if the expenditures for that communication are required to be reported by Chapter 4 (commencing with 84100) of Title 9 of the Government Code.

Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail, or by a fine not to exceed $50,000, or both.

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SIMULATED BALLOTS

Printing of Simulated Sample Ballots(Elections Code 18301)

In addition to any other penalty, any person who prints or otherwise duplicates, or causes to be printed or duplicated, a simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot which does not contain the statement required by Section 20009 or which uses an official seal or insignia in violation thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Simulated ballot requirements (Elections Code 20009)

(a) Every simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot shall bear on each surface or page thereof, in type or lettering at least half as large as the type or lettering of the statement or words or in 10-point Roman type, whichever is larger, in a printed or drawn box and set apart from any other printed matter, the following statement:

NOTICE TO VOTERS

(Required by Law)

This is not an official ballot or an official sample ballot prepared by the county elections official or the Secretary of State. This is an unofficial, marked ballot prepared by (insert name and address of the person or organization responsible for preparation thereof).

Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any such notice in any editorial or other statement appearing in a regularly published newspaper or magazine other than a paid political advertisement.

(b) No simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot referred to in subdivision (a) shall bear any official seal or the insignia of any public entity, nor shall that seal or insignia appear upon the envelope in which it is mailed or otherwise delivered.

(c) The superior court, in any case brought before it by any registered voter, may issue a temporary or permanent restraining order or injunction against the publication, printing, circulation, posting, or distribution of any matter in violation of this section, and all cases of this nature shall be in a preferred position for purposes of trial and appeal, so as to assure the speedy disposition thereof.

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POLITICAL SIGNS

Outdoor Political Advertising – State Law

Section 5405.3 of the State Outdoor Advertising Act (Business & Professions Code) authorizes the placing of "temporary political signs" separate and apart from the normal outdoor advertising controls. No political sign may be placed within the right-of-way of any highway or within 660 feet of the edge of and visible from the right-of-way of a landscaped freeway.

Temporary political signs are signs that meet the following criteria:

  • Encourages a particular vote in a scheduled election;
  • Is placed not sooner than 90 days prior to the scheduled election and is removed within 10 days after the election;
  • Is no larger than 32 square feet;
  • Has had a "Statement of Responsibility" filed with the State Department of Transportation, Division of Right of Way, Outdoor Advertising, 2208 N. Hayston, Fresno, CA 93703-2623, certifying a person who will be responsible for removing the signs. Forms are available at the Santa Cruz County Elections Department. Call (916) 654-4790 for more information.

The law directs the Department of Transportation to remove signs that do not comply with the regulations before an election and to bill the responsible party for removal costs after the election.

Penal Code Sections 556, 556.1 and 556.3 provide that it is a misdemeanor for any person to place a sign to advertise on public or private property (without consent); and that it shall be considered a public nuisance.

Pursuant to a County Counsel opinion dated April 18, 1994, utility poles are the property of the private utility company and the posting of political signs on them may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Furthermore, the Public Utility Commission may impose a fine for such unauthorized posting.

Outdoor Political Advertising C Santa Cruz County Code

Santa Cruz County Code, Section 13.10.583 states that temporary or political signs shall not be placed so as to constitute a traffic hazard. On January 12, 1993, the Board of Supervisors approved the following Public Works criteria for removal of signs as they might effect roadside safety:

Signs may be removed by authorized Public Works staff if they:

1. Block the sight distance on county roads at intersections of county roads, private roads or driveways.

2. Restrict the use of the highway or otherwise clearly cause problems for the traveling public.

3. Obscure fire hydrants, traffic signs, traffic signals or other traffic control devices.

4. Are attached to or distract the attention of drivers from any traffic control device.

5. Interfere with normal maintenance efforts.

6. Are identified as other traffic hazards by the Director of Public Works consistent with the content of this policy.

Action to remove signs under categories 1 through 4 above, generally requires immediate attention. For those matters covered under categories 5 and 6, Public Works staff will make reasonable effort to contact the responsible party, to relocate or remove the signs within 24 hours.

Pursuant to Section 1480.5 of the Streets and Highways Code, the Director of Public Works may immediately remove an encroachment which constitutes a traffic hazard or an encroachment which is an advertising sign or device of any description. In keeping with the provisions of Section 1480.5(d) any such sign removed by the Public Works Department which is of more than nominal value shall be held at a County maintenance yard for a reasonable period of time to allow the owner of the sign to retrieve it. The return of the sign may be conditioned upon payment of an amount sufficient to reimburse the Public Works Department for the expense of removal.

Outdoor Political Advertising - City Ordinances

Each city in Santa Cruz County has rules and regulations regarding outdoor political advertising. Contact the city clerk in Santa Cruz (420-5030), Capitola (475-7300), Scotts Valley (440-5602) or Watsonville (728-6005) for more information.

Removal of Political Signs

If the political signs are not removed within 10 days after the election, an enforcement action could be pursued in accordance with the enforcement provisions of Chapter 13.10 of the Santa Cruz County Code (County Counsel opinion dated April 18, 1994)

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POLLING PLACE INFORMATION

Campaign Literature Containing Polling Place (Elections Code 18302)

Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who knowingly causes to be mailed or distributed, or knowingly mails or distributes, literature to any voter that includes a designation of the voter's precinct polling place other than a precinct polling place listed for that voter in an official precinct polling list that constituted the latest official precinct polling list at sometime not more than 30 days prior to the mailing or distribution.

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