Candidates FAQs

527 political organizations
Candidate committees
Federal Political Action Committees (PACs)
Independent expenditures
Issue committees
Limited liability companies (LLCs)
Major contributors
Political committees
Political parties
Recall committees
Registered agents
School district candidates
Special district candidates
Small donor committees
Voluntary spending limits


Q1. How do I get started?

A1.  Our office has free candidate packets that include information on qualifications, Campaign and Political Finance (CPF) guidelines and forms, sample candidate petitions, and other forms required by state law.  Contact our office at 303-894-2200 to receive your candidate packet.

Learn how to run for office


Q2. When do I file?

A2.  There is no set filing deadline that applies to all candidates. Filing deadlines depend on:

  1. When your campaign efforts officially begin under Campaign and Political Finance (CPF)/Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA) definitions.
  2. The method used to get your name on the ballot (nomination, petition, write-in).

Please refer to the election calendar (PDF) for important dates.


Q3. How do I file expenditures?

A3.  Your expenditures are filed online through TRACER.  When we receive your candidate affidavit, we will send emails with your username and password so that you can log into the system and file reports.

See the expenditures FAQs for filing instructions.


Q4. How do I learn more about the requirements of Campaign and Political Finance and the Fair Campaign Practices Act?

A4.  Information is available on our website, or you can download the Campaign Finance manual (PDF). 

We also offer training classes throughout the year. These classes are conducted all over the state. Please contact us for information about upcoming classes.  


Q5. When do I officially become a candidate?

A5.  You become a candidate when you (1) publicly announce your candidacy and (2) subsequently receive a contribution or make an expenditure in support of your candidacy.


Q6. How do I verify my status and affiliation as a registered voter?

A6.  Your county clerk and recorder can verify your registration status, affiliation, affiliation date, etc. You can also access this information through the Registered Voter Search.


Q7. How do I find out which Congressional/State Senate/State House district I live in?

A7.  Your county clerk and recorder can verify which districts you live in.  You can also access this information through the Registered Voter Search.


Q8. Once I’ve declared my candidacy, can I change my mind?

A8.  Yes. Candidates can file a letter of withdrawal with the designated election official (Secretary of State, county/city/town clerk) any time before the election.

However, in order to ensure a candidate’s name is removed from the ballot and sufficient time is given for vacancy nominations, letters of withdrawal must be submitted 62 or more days before the Primary or General Election.


Q9. What forms do I have to file once I become a candidate?

A9.  You will have to file the following:

  • Notarized candidate affidavit (PDF):  You must file a notarized candidate affidavit with the appropriate officer within 10 days of becoming a candidate.
  • Voluntary spending limits (PDF):  If you are a state candidate and choose to accept voluntary spending limits, the acceptance of voluntary spending limits form must be filed with the candidate affidavit. (Does not apply to Regional Transportation District candidates.)
  • Personal financial disclosure (PDF):  State candidates must file a personal financial disclosure within 10 days of filing the candidate affidavit.  (Does not apply to Regional Transportation District candidates.)


Q10. Where do I file my campaign finance disclosures and reports?

A10.  Municipal candidates file with the Municipal Clerk in their city or town.

County and state candidates file with our office.


Q11. Where do I file ballot access documents (assembly paperwork, petition format, write-in affidavit, etc.)?

A11.  Ballot access documents are filed according to the position sought.

  • Municipal candidates file with the municipal clerk in their city or town.
  • Special district candidates file in their special district.
  • School board candidates file with their school district.
  • County candidates file with their county clerk's office.
  • State and federal candidates file with our office.


Q12. Do I have to register a candidate committee?

A12.  You only have to form a candidate committee if you plan to accept contributions. 

If you are a self-funded candidate, you don't need to register a candidate committee.  However, you will need to disclose what you spend on your campaign.


Q13. Do I have to file anything after the election is over?

A13.  Candidate committees must continue to file until they are affirmatively terminated with a zero fund balance.

Officeholders are required to update their personal financial disclosures annually (on or before the 10th of January), and to report all gifts and honoraria on a quarterly schedule.

Standalone candidates who fail to win their election cease to be candidates once the election is over, but they must still file expenditure reports for any reporting period during that time.


Q14. What is my personal liability as a candidate?

A14.  See Article XXVIII of the Colorado Constitution, Section 9 and Section 10.  Read these sections carefully before you file as a candidate or register a candidate committee.