Frequently Asked Questions about the 2021 Election

 

FAQs for the 2021 Regular Local Election
QUESTION ANSWER REGULATION PUBLIC FINANCING PRIVATE FINANCING MFC

Eligibility

What are the basic eligibility requirements to run for office?  In order to become a candidate, a person must be registered to vote in, and physically reside in, the district they seek to represent by August 4, 2021. Any changes to voter registration must be effective on August 4, 2021. How a name appears on ballots cannot be changed at the time of candidate filing.
Additionally, in order to appear on the ballot, the candidate must not have any outstanding campaign finance compliance issues or fines from the Board of Ethics.Finally, a person who has been convicted of a felony shall not be permitted to hold an office of public trust unless the person has presented the governor with a certificate verifying the completion of the sentence and was granted a pardon or a certificate by the governor restoring the person's full rights of citizenship.
NMSA 1978 § 1-22-3(B), NMSA 1978 § 1-22-4(B)). (NMSA 1978 §31-13-1(E)) x x  
Can I receive endorsements? Yes. The City Clerk has no rules regarding endorsements.   x x  
Is there a filing fee to run for office? No.   x x  
What are the requirements to qualify to get on the ballot? Persons desiring to become candidates for Mayor shall, before being placed on the ballot, file with the County Clerk a petition containing signatures of three thousand (3,000) registered voters residing in the City of Albuquerque. Persons desiring to become candidates for City Councilor shall, before being placed on the ballot, file with the County Clerk a petition containing signatures of five hundred (500) registered voters residing in the district the person desires to represent. 

Article II, Section 4

x x  
How do I announce my candidacy for Mayor or City Council? This is a personal choice and the City Clerk’s Office has no regulations regarding announcements. The Clerk’s Office recognizes a candidate for office if they do one of the following: submit a declaration of intent to seek public financing; raise or spend over $1,000 and register with our campaign finance reporting system; or picked up petition forms from our office.

Article XIII, Section 4

x x  
What is the difference between running public or privately financed? There are major differences in running for office publicly or privately financed. We encourage you to read the candidate guide and visit the webpages that outline the requirements for both.

How to run as a Publicly Financed Candidate.

How to run as a Privately Financed Candidate.

x x  

Petitions

How many petition signatures do I need to collect? A candidate for Mayor will need to collect 3000 signatures from registered voters within the City of Albuquerque. A candidate for City Council will need to collect 500 signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent. Article III, Section 4 x x  
Should I collect more petition signatures than required?  The City Clerk’s Office encourages candidates to collect more petitions signatures than required. Though signatures collected on the website will be validated as registered voters, signatures collected on paper forms will need to be verified as registered voters in the candidate’s district by the City Clerk’s Office once you submit them. Because individuals don’t always know their registration status, it’s possible that a number of the signatures you collect may not count towards the total required.   x x  
When can I collect petition signatures?  A Mayoral Candidate seeking public financing may collect petition signatures from April 17 through June 19. A Council Candidate seeking public financing may collect petition signatures from May 31 through July 5. A Mayoral Candidate using private financing may collect petition signatures from June 8 through August 10. A Council Candidate using private financing may collect petition signatures from July 6 through August 10.  ROA 2-4-23 x x  
What methods are available for collecting petition signatures? Candidates may collect petition signatures on the traditional paper form or electronically through a website the City Clerk has built to allow candidates to collect petition signatures electronically. The City Clerk’s Office will allow candidates to use both methods but encourages candidates to follow the public health orders of the State and use caution when collecting signatures in person.   x x  
When can I pick up the physical petition form or log into the website? Paper petition forms will be made available to candidates on the day prior to the petition period. Candidates will need to come into the City Clerk’s Office to pick up a physical petition form. The website will be made available the first day of the petition period for candidates. The system will send a candidate a welcome email and candidates will create a password to log into their account. This process will activate the candidate on the site. Candidate Slide Deck x x  
How long do I have to challenge petitions signatures The process for challenging another candidates signatures is done through the County Clerk. NMSA 1-22-10 x x  
Do I challenge signatures to get on the ballot with the City Clerk The process for challenging another candidates signatures is done through the County Clerk. NMSA 1-22-10 x x  

Qualifying Contributions

How many qualifying contributions do I need to collect? This number changes based on the district a candidate is running in. Candidates are required to collect qualifying contributions from 1% of the registered voters in the district they wish to represent. For a Mayoral Candidate, they will need to collect 1% of registered voters in the City of Albuquerque. Totals can be found on the City Clerks website. Article XIV, Section 4 x    
Should I collect more qualifying contributions than are required? The City Clerk’s Office encourages candidates to collect more qualifying contributions than required. Though qualifying contributions collected on the website will be validated as registered voters, qualifying contributions collected on paper receipt books will need to be verified as registered voters in the candidate’s district by the City Clerk’s Office once you submit them. Because individuals don’t always know their registration status, it’s possible that a number of the qualifying contributions you collect may not count towards the total required.   x    
When can I collect qualifying contributions? Mayoral candidates may collect qualifying contributions from April 17 through June 19. Council candidates may collect qualifying contributions from May 31 through July 5. Article XVI, Section 6(H) x    
What methods are available for collecting qualifying contributions? Candidates may collect qualifying contributions on the traditional paper receipt books with cash or check or electronically through a website the City Clerk has built to allow candidates to qualifying contributions electronically. The City Clerk’s Office will allow candidates to use both methods but encourages candidates to follow the public health orders of the State and use caution when collecting qualifying contributions in person.   x    
When can I pick up the receipt books or log into the website? Paper receipt books will be made available to candidates on the day prior to the qualifying period. Candidates will need to come into the City Clerk’s Office to pick up the receipt books. The website will be made available the first day of the candidates qualifying period. The system will send a candidate a welcome email and candidates will create a password to log into their account. This process will activate the candidate on the site. Candidate Slide Deck x    
Do I keep the qualifying contributions or a portion of the qualifying contributions? No. This money will be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office weekly and deposited into the Open and Ethical Fund. Contributions made through the website will be directly deposited into the Open and Ethical Fund. Article XVI, Section 10 x    
How do I submit receipt books and cash or checks collected to the City Clerk? The City Clerk requires qualifying contributions be returned weekly by candidates or their representative. The City Clerk’s Office will be open on Tuesdays by appointment to return the receipt books and money collected. City Clerk Rules: Part C 13 x    
How long do I have to challenge $5 contributions A person may challenge the Clerk's decision to grant or deny funds to a participating candidate up to three days following the decision by the clerk. The appeal shall be made in writing and will be heard by a City Hearing Officer. Article XVI, Section 19 x    
Can I give gifts to my volunteers paid for with my public funds?  No. The City Clerk outlines prohibited expenditures in the Rules for the Open and Ethical Election Code. City Clerk Rules for the OEEC Part D3 x    

Donations and Contributions

Can employees of city contractors donate to a campaign?  Yes. The prohibition excludes city contractors, not employees of contractors.  Article XIII, Section 4 (e) x x  
If I don’t qualify as a publicly financed candidate, can I move seed money over to a privately financed campaign? Yes. The seed money contributions at that point would just be considered contributions.    x    
Are there contribution limitations for privately financed candidates? There are some limitations to privately financed candidates. A privately financed candidate may give him or herself an unlimited amount of money. However, another individual may only donate up to a certain amount. For a Mayoral candidate, an individual may only donate up to $6,250.40. For a City Council candidate, an individual may only donate up to $1,499.68. Article XIII, Section 4 (d)   x  
Who can’t I accept money from as a privately financed candidate? A privately financed candidate may not accept money from a city contractor, any anonymous donor, or any foreign national. Privately financed candidates may accept contributions from individuals who live outside of New Mexico. Article XIII, Section 4 (e) (g)   x  
When can I begin to collect seed money? In advance of the candidate’s exploratory period, the candidate may donate up to $2,500 of their own money to their campaign. Otherwise, candidates may begin to collect seed money during their exploratory period and throughout their qualifying period. For Mayoral candidates this time frame is March 1 through June 19. For City Council candidates this time frame is April 25 through July 5. Article XVI, Section 6 (H) x    
How much seed money can I collect? Individual seed money contributions limits are $250. A candidate may give themselves $2,500. There are also aggregate seed money limits based on the district a candidate is running in.These limits can be found on the City Clerk's website. Article XVI, Section 6 x    
Where can the seed money come from? Seed money can come from any person as defined in Article XVI, Section 3 (O). This means any city resident, any club, association or organization having members who are city residents, or any corporation, firm or entity conducting business in the city of Albuquerque. Article XVI, Section 3 (o)    
Can I collect seed money electronically? Yes. The City Clerk’s Office does not provide a platform for this so you will need to manage this as a campaign. City Clerk's Rules for the Election Code, Part I(6) x
   
How is seed money reported? Seed money is reported as a monetary contribution in the campaign finance reporting site. How to use the Campaign Finance Reporting Site x    
What is an in-kind contribution? An in-kind donation is defined as a good or service, other than money, but having monetary value, that is given to the candidate. Article XVI, Section 3 (K) x x  
When can I collect in-kind contributions? Candidates may accept in-kind contributions from the beginning of their exploratory period through election day Article XVI, Section 6 (E) x    
How much in-kind contributions can I collect? For publicly financed candidates, the individual limitation on in-kind contributions is $2,500. The aggregate limit on in-kind contributions depends on the district/City the candidate is running in. For privately financed candidates, no in-kind contribution can exceed the limits in Article XII Section 4. Aggregate limits can be found on the City Clerk website. Article XVI, Section 3 (K) & Article XVI, Section 6 (E) x x  
Where can in-kind contributions come from? In-kind contributions can come from any person as defined in in Article XVI, Section 3 (O). However, it does not need to be from a city resident. Article XVI, Section 3 (O) & City Clerk OEEC Rules Part B, 2. x x  
Can an individual provide office space to a campaign as an in-kind donation? Yes. Although these contributions must be reported, a candidate may accept unlimited in-kind donations of certain items including office space. Article XIII Section 2(m) & Article XVI Section 3(K). x x  
Our campaign has individuals interested in volunteering their personal time to assist with the campaign. Is volunteer time considered an in-kind contribution? No and volunteer time also does not need to be reported. Article XVI Section 6(F) x x  
How are in-kind contributions reported? In-kind contributions are reported as contributions in the campaign finance reporting site. There is a distinct type of entry for in-kind contributions. You will need to know the monetary value of the in-kind contribution you are reporting. How to use the Campaign Finance Reporting Site x x  
How do I report contributions? All campaign related expenditures and contributions will need to be reported in the City Clerk’s campaign finance reporting site. The City Clerk’s Office will set up a training with candidates and their treasurers as requested. There is also an online tool to assist treasurers in registering and using the site. Article XIII, Section 4; How to use the Campaign Finance Reporting Site  x x
Can individuals under 18 make contributions of seed money? Yes. Article XVI, Section 3(O) x    
Can an individual solicit funds from a foreign national? No. Federal Law prohibits accepting donations from a foreign national. 52 USC, Section 30121(b) x x x
Does an MFC have to re-register their name with the City Clerk's office when a single donation is over 30% of the Mayor's salary or when the aggregate of an individual or groups donation is over 30%? The requirement is when an aggregate donation from an induvial or group is over 30%, or over $37,502.40. Article XIII, Section 4(k)     x
Can I accept seed money or campaign contributions from PayPal or another electronic platform? Yes. The City Clerk rules allow for campaigns or committees to use electronic platforms to collect contributions. City Clerk Rules for the Election Code, Part I6 x x x
As a publicly financed candidate, can an individual pay off an outstanding invoice for me? Yes, however this would be considered an in-kind contribution so the campaign would need to track individual and aggregate in-kind limits when accepting these kinds of offers. The in-kind contributions must be disclosed. Article XVI, Section 6 x    
How does seed money impact the distribution of funds for a publicly financed candidate? Any seed money collected will be deducted from the candidates distribution from the City Clerk. Article XVI, Section 6 x    
Can a Publicly Financed Candidate use credit cards, Venmo or PayPal to collect contributions? Yes. City Clerk Rules for the Election Code Part I(6)   x  
Can I accept seed money, campaign contributions, $5 contributions from city employees or registered city lobbyists? Yes.   x x x

Expenditures

Are there restrictions on expenditures for publicly financed candidates? Yes. Generally, funds cannot be used for personal expenses. There is guidance on these prohibitions in the City Clerk on the Open and Ethical Election Code. City Clerk Rules for the OEEC Part D3 x    
Can a Publicly Financed Candidate give gifts to volunteers? No. The City Clerk outlines prohibited expenditures in the Rules for the Open and Ethical Election Code. City Clerk Rules for the OEEC Part D3  x    
Can a Publicly Financed Candidate pay for alcohol for volunteers or staff? No. ROA 2-4-19  x    
What personal expenses can I pay for with public funds? Candidates may not use public funds for personal expenses. The Clerk's rules outline specific prohibited expenses. City Clerk Rules for the OEEC Part D3  x    
What if I have a specific question regarding an expenditure I want to make and the rules aren’t clear? Please contact the City Clerk’s Office for guidance. The City Clerk may direct you to seek an advisory opinion from the Board of Ethics. This option is always available to you as a candidate. Board of Ethics Rules and Regulations: Section 3 x x x
How do I report expenditures? All campaign related expenditures and contributions will need to be reported in the City Clerk’s campaign finance reporting site. The City Clerk’s Office will set up a training with candidates and their treasurers as requested. There is also an online tool to assist treasurers in registering and using the site. Article XIII, Section 4; How to use the Campaign Finance Reporting Site  x
When an MFC or Candidate places paid advertising on social media, does the MFC need to provide a copy of the advertising to the Clerk's Office or simply notate the expenditure? Yes. If an MFC or campaign makes an expenditure on paid campaign materials or advertising, the associated material must be provided to the City Clerk's Office. If that campaign material is a boosted Facebook or twitter post, the MFC should screenshot that material in some way to upload or email the material to the Clerk. Article XIII, Section 5 x x x
Can I buy a computer with public money? Do I need to give it back to the city when the campaign is done? Yes, a candidate is able to pay for a computer with public money. However, any property or equipment that is purchased with public funds must be sold at arms length at the end of the campaign. City Clerk Rules for the OEEC, Part D(3)(j) x    
If I have a printer from a past municipal campaign cycle, can I use it or donate it to my current campaign?

Generally, yes, property of de minimus value could be donated to your current campaign. 2021 City Clerk Rules exempt a candidate’s own services and property from the definition of a contribution.

2021 City Clerk Rules for the Election Code Part I (6)(I)      
As a publicly or privately financed candidate, can I pay myself for the use of a home office for my campaign? No. Mortgage or rent is considered a personal expense and is prohibited for both public and privately financed candidates. City Clerk Rules for the Election Code Part B(4); City Clerk Rules for the OEEC Part D(3) x x  
If I am a publicly financed candidate and I have debt at the end of the campaign, can I raise money to pay the debt? No. Participating candidates shall limit expenditures and debts to the amount of money distributed to the candidate from the Open and Ethical Fund. Participating candidates shall not accept contributions or loans from any other source. Article XVI, Section 8 x    

Forms

What’s the filing schedule? The filing schedule is outlined in the Charter and will be populated in the reporting site once you are registered as a candidate. Article XIII, Section 4  x x x
What forms required by the City Clerk? A list of forms required can be found in the Candidate Guide or on the City Clerk's website. The required forms can be filled out electronically and uploaded to the campaign finance reporting site. Candidate Forms x x x
When and how do I submit my Declaration of Candidacy? Declarations of Candidacy are forms that are accepted by the County Clerk. For publicly financed candidates, the City Clerk’s Office will provide these forms to candidates at the end of their qualifying periods and will submit the form and the candidate petitions to the County Clerk on the candidate’s behalf. For privately financed candidate, this form will be submitted along with your petitions to the County Clerk on August 24. NMSA 1978 § 1-22-3.2, NMSA 1978 § 1-22-7. x x  
Do I need to grant the clerk access to my bank account? Yes. The forms to do this can be found on the City Clerks website. Article XIII, Section 4 x x x

General/Other

What type of bank account do I need to open and how do I do this? The only requirement the City Clerk's Office has for bank accounts is that the campaign or committee establish one and only one bank account. Any decisions beyond that are the campaign or committee's decision. Article XIII, Section 4(b) x x x
If I boost a social media post, do I need to have the disclosure information required in print ads on the post and do I need to submit a copy of the post to the clerk? Yes. Social media posts that are paid for require both disclosure information and materials to be submitted to the City Clerk. City Clerk Rules for the Election Code, Part D x x x
How do I file an ethics complaint? Ethics complaints can be filed electronically through the City Clerks website. Ethics Complaint Form x x x
Do people need to register as a city lobbyists if they lobby an elected official to endorse a ballot measure? Yes. Lobbyists can registered through the City Clerk's website. ROA 2-3-1