Becoming a Candidate
The following documents and link provide information on how to become a candidate for public office. If, after reviewing the information, you have further questions, please contact the City Clerk's Office at 837-2511.
As a candidate, you are responsible for becoming familiar with the election and campaign finance requirements that apply to your campaign. You may obtain general information about elections from the Wisconsin Elections Commission website. Further information could be obtained from either the Wisconsin Statutes or from your private attorney. Information you receive from the City Clerk's office may not be interpreted as legal advice or a release from your responsibility to comply with the law.
How to Run for Office Training Video
Campaign Registration Statement
This form should be filed with the City Clerk's Office prior to announcing your candidacy for office, or no later than the deadline for filing nomination papers. New candidates should file a campaign registration statement as soon as intent to seek elective office is known and before funds are collected or spent - see State Statute 11.05(2g) and 11.10(1). Continuing candidates must file an amended campaign registration statement indicating the office sought and the new primary and election dates. The campaign registration statement must be signed by both the candidate and the campaign treasurer, if a treasurer has been appointed. Candidates may serve as their own treasurers.
Exemption from Filing Campaign Finance Reports - If you do not anticipate accepting contributions, or making disbursements, or incurring loans and other obligations in an aggregate amount exceeding $2,000 in a calendar year, you may sign the "Exemption from Filing Campaign Finance Reports" section on your Campaign Registration Statement. Your own contributions count towards the total receipts of $2,000 or less in a calendar year.
Declaration of Candidacy
The declaration of candidacy must include the candidate's name in the form it is to appear on the official ballot. A candidate may use his or her full legal name or any combination of first name, middle name, initials, or nickname with last name. No abbreviations or titles are permitted.
A nickname is defined as a familiar or shortened form of a proper name by which an individual is commonly known. Names that are not familiar or shortened forms of proper names, such as "Red," "Skip," or "Lower Taxes" are not permitted. A nickname is a substitute for the candidate's legal name. It is not permissible to add the nickname in quotes between the first and last name. For example, John "Jack" Jones is not acceptable, but Jack Jones is acceptable.
Please note: Your signature as a candidate must be notarized. Notary service is available in the City Clerk's Office.
The first day for circulating nomination papers is December 1, and the deadline for filing nomination papers is 5:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday in January. This deadline is extended to the first Wednesday in January if the first Tuesday of January is a holiday. Wisconsin Statute 8.10.
Please pay careful attention to the signatures you obtain on your nomination papers. All electors signing your nomination papers must live within your district. Those signing do not need to be registered voters, but they must be eligible to vote.
Signers must give their complete address (house number, street and municipality - no Post Office boxes), and must list the municipality of residence. Signers must date their signature, including the year. In order for a signature to be valid, state law requires the signer to legibly print his or her name in a space provided next to his or her signature.
Although the person signing the nomination papers must reside within the district, the person circulating the nomination papers does not need to live in the district or municipality. Circulators are only required to be U.S. citizens, age 18 or older on the date of circulation, and not otherwise disqualified as an elector by the provisions in State Statute 6.03.
The circulator must certify the nomination papers after obtaining the signatures. Signatures dated after the date listed by the circulator will not be counted. Nomination papers must be numbered. You may determine whether an address is in your district by checking online at MyVote Wisconsin.
Notification of Non-Candidacy
The notification of non-candidacy form is to notify the Clerk's Office and the electorate of an incumbent officeholder's intent to not seek re-election to the same office. Incumbent office holders who do not intend to seek re-election to the same office should file the notification by the deadline listed on the table above. If an incumbent not seeking re-election files the notification timely, the nomination paper deadline remains the same. If an incumbent does not file this form and does not seek re-election, the deadline for filing signatures with the City Clerk for that office is extended 72 hours. The deadline is not extended for the incumbent.
Please note: If an incumbent has a change of mind after filing the notification of non-candidacy, he or she can run for re-election by filing the appropriate ballot access paperwork by the 1st Tuesday in January.
To seek office as a write-in candidate:
- Download a Campaign Registration Statement from the Wisconsin Elections Commission website.
- File your Campaign Registration Statement with the City Clerk's Office as soon as you decide to become a write-in candidate. Write-in votes are counted for candidates who file a Campaign Registration Statement by the deadline listed on the table above.
A political sign as defined by our city ordinances means a sign erected in relation to an upcoming election or expressing political speech or viewpoints.
Sun Prairie Ordinance 17.40.020(B)(34)
- Political signs shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area.
- Political signs shall not be displayed on any building or grounds that are owned, operated or maintained by any public agency, or any city-owned post or traffic control device or on any pole, post or appurtenance owned or operated by any utility. Political signs shall be placed only on private property in accordance with Chapter 12, Wisconsin Statutes. Political signs shall not be placed on vacant private property without the consent of the property owner.
- Any illegal signs or unusable signs due to wear, tear or damage may be removed without notice by the city.
Sun Prairie Ordinance 17.40.050(N)