Topic:
CAMPAIGNS - PUBLIC FINANCING; ELECTIONS (GENERAL); LEGISLATION;
Location:
CAMPAIGNS - PUBLIC FINANCING;

OLR Research Report


January 24, 2007

 

2007-R-0092

(Revised)

ELECTION CALENDAR FOR CANDIDATES WHO PARTICIPATE IN THE CITIZENS' ELECTION PROGRAM

 

By: Kristin Sullivan, Associate Analyst

This report summarizes the parts of the election calendar that the Citizens' Election Program governs. The dates specified are for the 2008 election cycle.

SUMMARY

The calendar below is based on our analysis of PA 05-5, October 25 Special Session, as amended by PA 06-137, which establishes a voluntary system of public financing for election campaigns under the Citizens' Election Program and the Citizens' Election Fund (CEF) as its funding source. Several of the law's provisions will be subject to rules, regulations, and forms that the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) has yet to promulgate. The forthcoming regulations will go through the regulation review and adoption process and provide more details and specificity for candidates who participate in the program.

Beginning in 2008 for legislative offices and 2010 for statewide offices, candidates who receive qualifying contributions, agree to limit their spending, and comply with other requirements are eligible to receive state grants to finance their campaigns. Legislative candidates running in special elections were eligible to receive grants as of December 31, 2006, the effective date of the Citizens' Election Program.

To receive a grant, a candidate must file the required certifications with the SEEC and agree to limit spending to the amount the program permits. The candidate must receive the required amount of qualifying contributions and the treasurer must return those that do not meet the qualifying contribution criteria. The candidate must also submit an application that the SEEC approves. These actions generally occur in four phases: (1) deciding to participate, (2) qualifying, (3) applying for grants, and (4) participating.

DECIDING TO PARTICIPATE

The table below outlines a step all candidates must take, whether or not they intend to participate in the Citizens' Election Program, before a primary or general election in which they will run.

Table 1: Deciding to Participate

Action

When

Every candidate must file an affidavit with the SEEC certifying his intent to participate or not participate in the Citizens' Election Program, thus becoming a “participating candidate” or “nonparticipating candidate,” respectively (CGS 9-703).

(A candidate who intends to participate must also include with the affidavit certifications that (1) the campaign treasurer agrees to the lawful use of state funds; (2) the candidate will repay any amount improperly spent; and (3) name the major or minor party the candidate represents, or indicate that the candidate is a petitioning party candidate. The candidate and the campaign treasurer must both certify that they are jointly and separately liable for repaying an amount equal to the excess spending if the candidate exceeds the spending limit (CGS 9-703).)

For a primary candidate, no later than 4:00 p.m. on the 25th day preceding the primary (CGS 9-703(a)).

(July 18, 2008)

For a general election candidate, no later than 4:00 p.m. on the 40th day preceding the election (CGS 9-703(a)).

(September 25, 2008)

For a legislative candidate in a special election, no later than 4 p.m. on the 25th day preceding the special election (CGS 9-703(a)).

(Depends on the date of the special election)

Participating candidates must only certify as such once. Those who do so before a primary and win the party endorsement are not required to recertify before the general election.

QUALIFYING

The table below outlines actions candidates who participate in the Citizens' Election Program, “participating candidates,” must take to qualify for state grants.

Table 2: Qualifying

Action

When

Candidate collects and receives the required amount of qualifying contributions (CGS 9-704).

Candidate may start collecting qualifying contributions upon establishing an exploratory committee (CGS 9-704).

(Varies by individual)

Candidate must finish collecting qualifying contributions before applying for an initial grant from the CEF, whether for a primary or general election (CGS 9-706(b) (1)).

(Varies by individual)

Campaign treasurer returns all contributions that do not meet the criteria for qualifying contributions (CGS 9-704).

Upon determining a contribution does not meet the criteria (CGS 9-704 (c)).

(Varies by individual)

Candidate may withdraw from the program without penalty by filing an affidavit with the SEEC including a written certification of withdrawal (CGS 9-703(c)).

Before applying for an initial grant from the CEF (CGS 9-703(c))

(Varies by individual)

Candidate committee repays all loans and certifies such repayment to the SEEC (CGS 9-710(a) and (b)).

Before applying for an initial grant from the CEF (CGS 9-710(b)).

(Varies by individual)

Candidate committee transmits additional contributions it receives to the state treasurer for deposit into the CEF (CGS 9-704(d)).

After receiving the applicable aggregate amount of qualifying contributions (CGS 9-704(d)).

(Varies by individual)

Replacement Candidate

If a nominated participating candidate dies, withdraws, or becomes disqualified to hold office after the SEEC approves his or her application, the candidate who replaces that candidate as the party's nominee is eligible to receive grants without raising qualifying contributions. To qualify, the replacement candidate must file an affidavit with the SEEC when he or she forms a candidate committee or certifies that the registration is not required and include with it a written certification of intent to abide by the spending limits (CGS 9-706 (f)).

APPLYING FOR A GRANT

The Citizens' Election Program specifies events after which participating candidates may apply for grants from the Citizens' Election Fund. Only major party candidates are eligible for primary campaign grants. Candidates for lieutenant governor can receive grants for a primary campaign or petitioning for ballot access, but not for the general election when they run with a gubernatorial candidate. An eligible minor party candidate can receive a grant for the general election only if the candidate for the same office representing the same minor party at the last regular election received at least 10% of the votes cast for that office. Similarly, an eligible petitioning party candidate can receive a grant for the general election only if his or her petition is signed by a number of qualified electors equal to 10% of the number of votes cast for the same office at the last regular election. Table 3 shows the schedule for applying.

Table 3: Applying for a Grant

Action

When

Major party candidate applies for a primary campaign grant (CGS 9-706 (a)).

For a statewide office candidate or a district office legislative candidate (i.e., multi-town district), after the close of the party's nominating convention if he or she (1) receives the party endorsement; (2) receives at least 15% of the delegate vote on a roll-call at the party convention, if applicable; or (3) qualifies as a petitioning candidate for the party's nomination (CGS 9-706 (a) (1)).

(Major party conventions for state and district offices: May 6-27, 2008 (CGS 9-383))

For a municipal office legislative candidate (i.e., single-town district), after the party endorsement or qualifying as a petitioning candidate, since these candidates are not endorsed at a nominating convention (CGS 9-706(a) (1)).

(Municipal office candidate endorsements: May 20-27, 2008 (CGS 9-391(C)))

Candidate applies for a general election grant (CGS 9-706).

Major Party Candidates:

After the close of the party's nominating convention or municipal caucus, convention, or town committee meeting, whichever is applicable, if he or she (1) receives the party's endorsement and will not have to run in a primary; (2) receives at least 15% of the delegate vote on a roll-call at the party convention, no other candidate receives the party endorsement or 15% of the delegate vote, and no other candidate files a nominating petition; or (3) qualifies as a petitioning candidate and no candidate receives the party endorsement or 15% of the delegate vote (CGS 9-706(a)(2)(A)).

(For a statewide office candidate or multi-town district legislative candidate, after the major party conventions: May 6-27, 2008 (CGS 9-383))

(For a single-town district legislative candidate, after the municipal office candidate endorsements: May 20-27, 2008 (CGS 9-391(C)))

After a primary if the secretary of the state declares the candidate to be the party nominee (CGS 9-706(a) (2) (B)).

(After August 12, 2008)

Minor Party Candidates:

After the candidate's nomination is certified and filed with the secretary of the state (CGS 9-706(a) (2) (C)).

(Deadline for nominating candidates, and certifying and filing the list of nominations: September 10, 2008 (CGS 9-452))

Petitioning Party Candidates:

After the secretary of the state approves the candidate's petition (CGS 9-706(a) (2) (D)).

(Deadline for submitting nominating petitions: August 6, 2008 (CGS 9-453i))

Special Elections for Legislative Candidates:

After the close of the candidate's party's district convention, municipal caucus, convention, or town committee meeting (CGS 9-706(a) (3)).

(Depends on when special election occurs)

PARTICIPATING

Candidates, their committees, and their treasurers must comply with certain requirements, including abiding by the spending limits, to participate in the Citizens' Election Program and remain in good standing. The law penalizes those who receive money from the fund and make or incur expenditures exceeding their applicable limit. Table 4 provides an overview of the program's participation requirements.

Table 4: Participating

Action

When

Deposits to a candidate's campaign account prohibited other than (1) grants from the CEF or (2) payments for excess or independent expenditures (CGS 9-707).

Immediately following the initial deposit of program funds into the candidate's campaign account (CGS 9-707).

(Varies by individual)

Candidate who receives a primary grant and becomes the party nominee automatically receives a general election grant (CGS 9-708).

SEEC notifies the comptroller that the secretary of the state declared the primary results. The comptroller pays the grant within two business days after receiving the notification (CGS 9-708).

Minor or petitioning party candidate who receives less than a full grant may raise additional contributions up to the difference between the amount of the full grant and the grant he received (CGS 9-702 (c)).

After receiving a partial grant (CGS 9-702 (c)).

(Varies by individual)

Candidate committee of eligible minor or petitioning party candidate receives a supplemental grant if it has a deficit and achieved a threshold based on votes candidate received (CGS 9-705 (c) (3)).

After the general election (CGS 9-705(c) (3)).

(SEEC to determine schedule)

Campaign treasurer sends all surplus funds to the CEF.

No later than 90 days after (1) a primary in which the candidate loses or (2) the general election (CGS 9-608(e) (A)).

(November 10, 2008 for a primary or February 2, 2009 for the general election)

Campaign treasurer for a participating legislative candidate who benefits from an organization expenditure files a statement with the SEEC listing (1) the committee that made the expenditure, (2) the amount, and (3) its purpose (CGS 9-608 (c) (6)).

(Only applies to organization expenditures about which the candidate committee is aware.)

On or before the day the candidate committee dissolves (CGS 9-608 (c) (6)).

(Varies by individual)

Governor and Lieutenant Governor (CGS 9-709)

A party's candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run jointly for the purpose of participating in the gubernatorial public financing program as soon as that determination can be made. That occurs (1) when the results of a primary are known, if there is a primary for either or both offices; (2) the 14th day following the close of the convention, if there is no primary; or (3) when party-endorsed candidates declare that they will campaign as a single ticket, which means they will run together in the general election so that electors can cast a single vote for both candidates. Candidates other than party-endorsed candidates can also declare that they are campaigning jointly.

A candidate for the office of lieutenant governor must dissolve his or her own candidate committee or exploratory committee if running jointly with a gubernatorial candidate. When the candidates' status is determined, the treasurer of the lieutenant governor candidate's campaign committee must:

1. within 15 days, file a statement with the secretary of the state listing the committee's contributions and expenditures since the previous report and showing the balance or deficit and

2. within 30 days, return any surplus to (a) the fund, if the candidate participated in the program or (b) those eligible to receive a surplus distribution under existing law, including the fund, if the candidate did not participate.

Disregard of Spending Limits (CGS 9-712)

Supplemental Campaign Finance Statements. A candidate in a primary or general election with at least one participating candidate who makes or becomes obligated to make expenditures exceeding 90% of the applicable grant for that campaign, must file an initial supplemental campaign finance statement with the SEEC. Thereafter, all candidates in

the campaign must file weekly supplemental statements. The schedules for filing supplemental statements during a primary and general election campaign appear in Table 5.

Table 5: Supplemental Campaign Finance Statements

PRIMARY CAMPAIGN

Action

Deadline for Filing

Supplemental Campaign Finance Statements

Candidate makes or becomes obligated to make expenditures exceeding 90% of the applicable grant and must file and initial supplemental statement.

Within 48 hours of making or obligating to make the expenditure.

Candidate and opposing candidate or candidates file weekly supplemental statements.

First Thursday following (1) the July filing date required by law or (2) the date when the candidate who exceeded 90% of the grant filed the initial supplemental campaign finance statement, whichever is later, and each Thursday thereafter until the primary.

(July filing date: July 10, 2008)

GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Action

Deadline for Filing

Supplemental Campaign Finance Statements

Candidate makes or becomes obligated to make expenditures exceeding 90% of the applicable grant and must file and initial supplemental statement.

Within 48 hours of making or obligating to make the expenditure.

Candidate and opposing candidate or candidates file weekly supplemental statements.

First Thursday following (1) the October filing date required by law or (2) the date when the candidate who exceeded 90% of the grant filed the initial supplemental campaign finance statement, whichever is later, and each Thursday thereafter until the election.

(October filing date: October 10, 2008)

Declarations of Excess Expenditures. “Excess expenditure” means an expenditure made or obligated to be made by a nonparticipating or participating candidate who is opposed by at least one participating candidate in a primary or general election that exceeds the applicable spending limit for the participating candidate. If a candidate makes or becomes obligated to make an excess expenditure, a declaration of excess expenditures must be filed. Table 6 shows the filing schedule.

Table 6: Declarations of Excess Expenditures

PRIMARY OR GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Action

Deadline for Filing Declaration of Excess Expenditures with the SEEC

Candidate makes or becomes obligated to make an excess expenditure more than 20 days before the primary or general election.

(On or before July 22, 2008 for a primary or on or before October 14, 2008 for the general election)

Within 48 hours of making or obligating to make the excess expenditure.

(Depends on when candidate makes or become obligated to make excess expenditure)

Candidate makes or becomes obligated to make an excess expenditure 20 days or less before the primary or general election.

(On or after July 23, 2008 for a primary or on or after October 15, 2008 for the general election)

Within 24 hours of making or obligating to make the excess expenditure.

(Depends on when candidate makes or become obligated to make excess expenditure)

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