Filing for Office
2023 Municipal Candidate Guide
The 2023 Municipal Candidate Guide is provided by the State Board of Elections.
What Should a Candidate Expect When Filing for Office?
A Board of Elections staff member will work with each candidate to verify eligibility to file. A candidate must meet the general candidate requirements and reside within the municipality of special district.
Filing paperwork will be completed and notarized (photo ID will be required for notarization).
The candidate will pay a filing fee. Filing fees for municipal offices are $5, except for Belville ($15) and Oak Island ($25).
Filing fees should be paid in the form of a check or money order. Business or corporate checks and credit cards not accepted. Filing fees $50 or less may be paid in cash; exact change required.
The candidate will have an opportunity to sit with a staff member to discuss establishing a candidate committee.
Candidates will be provided a packet containing information pertinent to running for office.
2023 Candidate Filing
Brunswick County has 19 municipalities, 2 sanitary districts, and a hospital authority that will hold elections this year. See the List of Elected Officials to find out what seats are up for election.
Filing Dates: Friday, July 7 at noon through Friday, July 21 at noon
Candidate Withdrawal Deadline: Tuesday, July 18 at 5 PM
Filing Fees: Filing fees for municipal offices are $5, except for Belville ($15) and Oak Island ($25). Filing fees should be paid in the form of a cash, check or money order. Business or corporate checks are not accepted. Exact change is required if paying in cash. (Cash is only accepted since filing fees are less than $50).
Campaign Finance Requirements
Everyone running for office is required to open a campaign finance committee.
Who can help?
For questions pertaining to campaign finance, or to schedule an appointment to review completed campaign finance paperwork, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaign Finance FAQ
Find information about campaign finance, including the most recent version of the Campaign Finance Manual, on the State’s website.
When do I need to file paperwork with the Board of Elections office to organize my political committee?
Within ten days of one of the following:
- Receiving money or anything of value in support of the campaign; or
- Spending money in support of the campaign; or
- Giving consent for anyone else to receive money or spend money for the purpose of bringing about that individual’s nomination or election for office; or
- Filing a notice of candidacy.
Who can I appoint as my treasurer and what is required of that person?
The candidate may appoint themselves or any individual that is a resident of North Carolina, apart from the candidate’s spouse, to serve as treasurer for the committee. Treasurers are responsible for maintaining all financial records of the committee, timely filing of reports, and ensuring the committee follows the campaign finance laws. The treasurer must be a resident of North Carolina. The treasurer is responsible for setting up the committee and notifying the Board of Elections when changes occur. The treasurer should keep track of all committee transactions and keep records current within 7 days.
Will my treasurer be trained?
Yes. North Carolina residents appointed as treasurers of political committees are required to receive training within three months of appointment, and once every four years thereafter. The State Board of Elections facilitates mandatory compliance training.
Please visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections website for additional information on Treasurer Training.
Can I keep the money I raise for the campaign in my personal bank account?
No. It is required that campaign funds be maintained in a bank account that is used exclusively by the political committee. Many banks will require that you obtain an EIN number from the IRS to open the account. EIN numbers can be obtained by going to www.irs.gov or calling 800-829-4933.
I do not plan to receive any contributions and want to fund my campaign entirely with my own money. Do I still need to open a committee?
Yes. All candidates are required to open a committee. When deciding whether to file over or under the $1,000 threshold, keep in mind that anything you purchase with personal funds for the campaign will count toward the $1,000. Purchases you make with personal funds are considered in-kind contributions from you as an individual to your campaign.
If I file a Certification of Threshold and remain under the $1,000 limit, do I need to keep track of the money I receive and spend?
Yes. All committees should keep accurate records of contributions and expenditures regardless of whether the committee filed over or under the $1,000 threshold. If the threshold is exceeded, full disclosure of activity will be required.
Treasurers may accept cash in an amount no greater than fifty dollars [$50.00] from a contributor per day. In no case may any contributor give more than $50.00 in cash in a single day.
Do not accept cash from a contributor in excess of $50.00. All contributions greater than $50.00 must be made by a verifiable form of payment, such as a personal check, money order, demand draft, cashier’s check, debit, or credit card. This prohibition also applies to candidates who wish to withdraw funds from their personal account to be deposited in a campaign finance account.
Do not accept a contribution, including an “in-kind” contribution, from a business, corporation, professional association, labor union or insurance company.
A person who purchases something from a candidate has contributed to that candidate’s committee. All such contributions, however small, must be disclosed.
Volunteers raising contributions on behalf of the committee must turn those over to the treasurer within seven days of receipt so that the records are current, as required by State law.
I am planning a fundraiser and a local restaurant has offered to donate food. Is this allowed?
No. You cannot receive any contribution (monetary or in-kind) from a business. This includes donating items for fundraisers.
I am planning a fundraiser and will sell plates of food. Do I need to keep track of how much each person buys?
Yes. Anonymous contributions are prohibited. For example, if you hold a fundraiser and sell hot dog plates for $5 and drinks for $1, you must have the name, address, and phone number of each person who buys a plate or a drink and keep track of how much money they give.
A friend of mine came up to me and put a $100 bill in my hand telling me to “put it toward the campaign”. Is this allowed?
No. Any contribution more than $50 must be made with a verifiable form of payment (i.e., check or money order).
I am going to Costco to buy food for a fundraiser. Can I make the purchase using cash?
That depends. If you are using campaign funds and the purchase is over $50, it must be made with a verifiable form of payment (i.e., check, money order, campaign debit/credit card). If you are using your personal money and will donate the food to the committee as an in-kind contribution, the purchase can be made with any form of payment.
Required Training for Treasurers
Any treasurer that signs campaign finance reports is required by law to receive treasurer training from the State within three months of appointment and once every four years. This training can be taken in-person or online.
Frequently Used Campaign Reporting Forms
Every report filed will require a Disclosure Report Cover and a Detailed Summary. Other forms will be used depending on the type of transactions that took place during the reporting period.
This is not an exhaustive list, only those most frequently used. All reporting forms, including instructions and samples for each, can be found on the State’s website.
Describes the type of report, time period the report covers, and includes committee information. EVERY report will need to have a signed cover turned in with it – including amendments (Signed in ink – no electronic signatures).
Summarizes the totals of all pages submitted by totaling both “Reporting Period” and “Election Cycle.” The reporting period is just the time frame of the report. The election cycle is the total throughout the term, which begins on January 1 following the last election for the office sought.
- Contributions under $50 may be reported on Aggregated Contributions From Individuals CRO-1205, bearing in mind that once a contributor exceeds $50 in an election cycle, they must be reported on CRO-1210.
Form used to show expenditures from the committee during the reporting period. Use a separate (CRO-1310) form for each of the 3 types of disbursements (operating expenses, contributions to candidate/political committee, or coordinated party expenditures). Check the box on Line 3 of the form to distinguish which category the page of disbursements represents.
Refunds and reimbursements FROM the committee would include returned contributions, reimbursements for in-kind contributions and any other refunds from the committee, that occurred during the reporting period.
All “In-Kind,” or non-monetary, contributions should be listed on the appropriate contributions page (1205, 1210, 1220, 1230, and 1240) in addition to the In-Kind Contributions form. In-Kind Contributions MUST be shown on BOTH forms to show the value of the contribution without affecting the committee account balance on the Detailed Summary.
Complete schedules can be found on the State’s website.
2023 Municipal Election Reporting Schedule
|Event||Report End Date||Report Due Date|
|Organizational Report||–||Within 10 days of organizing|
|2023 Mid-Year Semi-Annual Report||06/30/2023||07/28/2023|
|2023 35-Day Report||09/26/2023||10/03/2023|
|2023 Pre-Election Report||10/23/2023||10/30/2023|
|2023 Year-End Semi-Annual Report||12/31/2023||01/26/2024|
2023-24 State and County Reporting Schedule
2024 Primary Election Date – 03/05/2024
2024 General Election Date – 11/05/2024
In 2024, the Mid-Year Semi-Annual and Year-End Semi-Annual reports are only due from candidates who are not appearing on the ballot in the 2024 elections.
VIDEOS: Campaign Finance Report Overview
These presentations are an overview of what our office tends to see on filed campaign finance reports for a municipal election.
Visit the State Board of Elections website to find the full library of reporting forms.
You’re a Candidate. Now What?
Tools to help you with your campaign.
Campaigning at the Polling Place
GS 163-166.4 Limitation on activity in the voting place and in a buffer zone around it.
(a) Buffer Zone. – No person or group of persons shall hinder access, harass others, distribute campaign literature, place political advertising, solicit votes, or otherwise engage in election related activity in the voting place or in a buffer zone which shall be prescribed by the county board of elections around the voting place. In determining the dimensions of that buffer zone for each voting place, the county board of elections shall, where practical, set the limit at 50 feet from the door of entrance to the voting place, measured when that door is closed, but in no event shall it set the limit at more than 50 feet or at less than 25 feet.
Please encourage your electioneering group not to use the parking spaces closest to the polling place so that they may be used by the voters.
Information on Political Sign Placement
Neither the county boards nor the State Board regulates the placement of signage except at polling sites. Signs fall under N.C.G.S. § 136-32 and are under the purview of the Department of Transportation or the individual municipality. In terms of signs on private property, that is the purview of the property owner and possibly their HOA if one exists. Review the signage requirement guidelines in the Littering Statutes Fact Sheet.
From the Brunswick County Unified Development Ordinance
Article 8, Section 8.7.7. Campaign/Political Signs
- A. Description – A sign without a commercial message that relates to an election or other event.
- B. Standards – Within seven days of the election (closing of polls), all signs must be removed.
Committees are responsible for picking up their signs following an election to adhere to state and local regulations.
Private roads would be in a municipality or unincorporated. Questions regarding unincorporated areas should be directed to the Brunswick County Planning Department at (910) 253-2025.
Development HOA rules vary.
Any inquiries about signs in DOT right of ways (state roads) should be referred to the district office for Brunswick.
Signs at the Polling Place
Each precinct voting place permits candidates to place and retrieve political advertising at least 36 hours prior to the opening of the voting place and at least 36 hours after the close of the voting place, unless a special agreement is made with a non-public building.
For the 2022 primary election, there are two polling places that do not allow electioneering: Ocean View United Methodist Church and Jennie’s Branch Baptist Church.
Distributing Pre-Marked Sample Ballots
Document Resembling an Official Ballot to Contain Disclaimer. – No person other than a board of elections shall produce or disseminate a document substantially resembling an official ballot unless the document contains on its face a prominent statement that the document was not produced by a board of elections and is not an official ballot.
Using the sample ballots published by our office meets this criteria.
Sample Ballots and Campaign Finance Statutes
Sample ballots are considered print media and are therefore required to contain a legend (i.e. “Paid for by [Name of committee]”).
If the sample ballot is marked for candidates other than yourself, it must also contain an authorization statement (i.e. “Authorized by [name of candidate], candidate for [name of office]” or “Not authorized by a candidate”).
Please refer to the Media/Advertising section of the Campaign Finance Manual for additional information.
List of Voters, Statistical Reports
You may request a list of registered voters from our office. Send an email to email@example.com and include the following in your request:
• Requestor’s name and phone number
• Brief description of requested report
o Would you like the report sorted by precinct, last name, or street?
o Do you want the report to include active and inactive voters, or only active voters?
The standard format of the report is Excel. If you would like a different format, please indicate that in your correspondence.
Other Statistics and Data
See our Public Information page for other statistical information.