News Flash


Posted on: July 26, 2018

November 2018 General Municipal Election Process

City of Santa Rosa

The City of Santa Rosa’s city council candidate nomination period is currently open and will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 10, 2018. The Santa Rosa City Clerk issues and accepts for filing official nomination documents during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This nomination period will establish the list of candidates for the November 6, 2018, General Municipal Election. The upcoming election will be the first to transition Santa Rosa’s at-large City Council to a district-based representation.

Background on Transition to District-Based Elections

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the Council adopted Ordinance No. ORD-2018-007 establishing seven voting districts and the sequence of elections. Under Santa Rosa's new district-based election system, voters may only elect one Council member for the Council district they are registered in.

The terms of the Council members alternate so that either three members or four members are elected every two years. Current at-large Council members will remain seated until November 3, 2020, when the remaining four odd-numbered Council District seats will be up for election. In 2018, the terms for Council Members Chris Coursey, John Sawyer and Tom Schwedhelm will expire. On June 26, 2018, the Santa Rosa City Council called a General Municipal Election to be held on November 6, 2018, for the purposes of electing members to these three seats.

City Council Candidate Qualifications

A candidate must be a registered voter within their respective elective district in the City of Santa Rosa at the time the candidate’s nomination papers are issued and must be an elector of the City at the time of assuming office. The candidate’s qualifications will be verified through Sonoma County voter registration records prior to the issuance of a nomination package. Elector and resident status must be maintained during the term of office.


Nomination Process & Campaigning

During the nomination period, a candidate will complete a variety of documents, including the Nomination Petition, Statement of Economic Interests Form 700, Candidate Statement of Qualifications, Code of Fair Campaign Practices and other required and optional forms. The candidate must obtain on the Nomination Petition no less than 20 and no more than 30 signatures of registered voters in the City of Santa Rosa to qualify for placement on the ballot. There is no filing fee for the Nomination Petition.


The City Council has adopted campaign finance measures, which are codified in Santa Rosa City Code Chapters 10-32 and 10-33. Among other things, the City’s campaign finance regulations establish a limit on contributions from a single person or entity to $500 per election per candidate, require additional campaign disclosure reports, require additional disclaimers on campaign communications, and require electronic filing of campaign disclosure statements.

Amendments to the City’s campaign finance regulations adopted in 2014 establish additional requirements for campaign robocalls made in City elections, including:

  • Additional disclaimers on robocalls funded by independent expenditures;
  • Filing of a robocall disclosure report and transcript with the City Clerk’s Office within 48 hours of placing robocalls funded by independent expenditures;
  • An opt-out mechanism within each initial robocall; and
  • Display of accurate caller identification information.

Santa Rosa City Code Chapter 10-33 provides public financing for Council candidates through a voluntary election campaign spending limit. Eligible candidates are entitled to have candidate information included in a City Voter Update newsletter, which is mailed to each household, and posted on the City’s public website. To agree with the city’s public financing, a candidate must sign a Voluntary Election Campaign Spending Limit Agreement in which the candidate agrees to a total campaign expenditures limit of $55,574.

Important Dates 

The following are key dates for the November 6, 2018, election:



Nomination Period Closes


Extended Nomination Period Closes (not applicable until 2022)


Secretary of State Holds Random Alpha Drawing


First Day Campaign Signs May Be Erected


Last Date to Register to Vote


Election Day


Deadline to Certify Election Results


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