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Bonnie Bush, Interim City Clerk Administrator, conducts and administers municipal elections that are generally consolidated with the County Elections Department. For current and past election information, please visit the Santa Cruz County Elections Department website.


Registering to vote is easier then ever. Clicking on one of the below buttons will redirect you to the Secretary of State online voter registration website.

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The Candidate Nomination Period for the November 6, 2018 Presidential General election is July 16 - August 10, 2018.

Please contact Bonnie at 831-420-5035 for more information. Section 602 (Qualifications) of the City Charter states "A person shall be eligible to be nominated for, or to hold office as a member of the Council, only if such person is a registered qualified voter of this City, and shall have been for at least thirty (30) days next preceding nomination or appointment, a resident of the City of Santa Cruz, or of territory annexed thereto."

Additional information on the election process can be found by clicking on the link to the Candidate Information FAQ.

Prospective candidates who wish to run for City Councilmember in the upcoming November 6, 2018 election MUST do the following prior to campaigning (or can submit forms during the Nomination Period):

  1. File an FPPC Form 501. Prospective candidates can file their FPPC Form 501 anytime between now and the Nomination Period.
  2. After filing an FPPC Form 501, should a candidate begin to campaign and raise funds he/or she must also file an originally signed FPPC Form 410 with the Secretary of State (copy of the form to be submitted to Bonnie in the Clerk's office) within 10 days of receiving $2,000.  

Instructions for both forms are on the first page of each form. Please read the instructions carefully and thoroughly, and contact Bonnie should you have questions. Prospective candidates can mail or drop off their FPPC forms at City of Santa Cruz, 809 Center Street, Rm 9, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.


Candidates who wish to pull election papers (original forms must be filed in the Office of the City Clerk during the Nomination Period - Candidate handbooks will not be released until first date of Nomination Period) must file the following documents to qualify as a City Council Candidate:


  • Nomination Paper (must have no less than 20 signatures of valid registered voters)
  • Ballot Designation Worksheet
  • Candidate Statement Agreement & Checklist
  • Internet Permission
  • Statement of Financial Worth (optional to file)
  • Code of Fair Political Practice (optional to file)
  • CalTrans Agreement Letter RE: Political Sign Display
  • Voluntary Expenditure and Mandatory Contribution Limitations Agreement
  • FPPC Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interests) 
Please contact Bonnie at (831) 420-5035 or email her at bbush@cityofsantacruz.com with questions or to set an appointment to discuss the election process.



Candidates who agree to abide by the City of Santa Cruz’s voluntary campaign finance reform spending limits receive a free statement on the City's website. City Council candidate statements are posted by the City in the form submitted by the candidate without editing, proofreading, or spell-checking by City staff. The opinions and statements set forth are those of the candidates to whom they are attributed and do not reflect the City’s official positions on issues addressed in the statement. The candidate’s statement is not a City endorsement of any candidate’s candidacy. The information is submitted to the voters by the City as a service to assist voters and for informational purposes only, and the statement is not intended to, and does not, exempt any candidate or statement author from civil or criminal liability for any false, slanderous, or libelous statements set forth on the City’s website.

The Santa Cruz City Council enacted the campaign finance reform ordinance in June, 2000 (Ordinance No. 2000-11), upon the recommendation of the Campaign Finance Reform Task Force. The Task Force had met since early 1997 to study the possible impacts of voluntary spending limits on local elections. The 2000 ordinance essentially limited campaign expenditures by candidates, and after further consideration, the Council amended the ordinance in February, 2002 (Ordinance No. 2002-07) and again in April, 2002 (Ordinance No. 2002-14), to include limitations on campaign contributions to candidates. In May, 2004 (Ordinance No. 2004-16) there was an additional ordinance enacted pertaining to City Council Election Campaign expenditures and contributions. In July, 2014 (Ordinance No. 2014-06) the ordinance was amended again to set a voluntary campaign expenditure limitation cap to be calculated at $0.60 per city resident and establish a mandatory contribution limitation of $350 per individual and organization, indexed by $50.00 five year incremental increases. 

The Council and Task force recognized that monetary contributions to political campaigns are a legitimate form of citizen participation, but that the financial strength of individuals or organizations should not permit them to exercise a controlling influence on the election of candidates. The intended purposes of the City's voluntary campaign expenditure and mandatory contribution limitations ordinance are:

  1. To minimize the potentially corrupting influence and appearances of corruption caused by excessive contributions; and
  2. To limit overall expenditures in campaigns, thereby allowing candidates to spend less time fundraising and more time communicating with voters; and
  3. To provide incentives that encourage candidates to voluntarily limit their campaign expenditures.


Candidates who agree to the campaign spending and contribution limitations are entitled to be featured (at no charge to themselves) on the City's website.

The expenditure limitation cap is established every election year by using the most recent census records and a rate per City resident.

The 2016 election year VOLUNTARY expenditure limit is $38,779.20 (64,632 residents x $.60). The MANDATORY contribution limit is $350 per individual and organization. Candidates must agree to:

  • Spend $1,000 in support of their candidacy or procure 250 signatures of City electors
  • Form a controlled committee
  • Accept voluntary contribution and mandatory contribution limits
  • Provide information from any organization upon the request of the City of Santa Cruz

For help with election information, please contact Bonnie Bush, Interim City Clerk Administrator at (831) 420-5035.


The elective officers of this City shall be seven councilmembers who shall constitute the Council. They shall be elected from the City at large as provided in ARTICLE VII for a term of four years and until their successors have been elected and qualified. The Council shall be the legislative body of this City, each of the members of which, including the Mayor, shall have the right to vote upon all questions before it. No member of the Council shall be eligible for re-election for two years (i.e. one general election cycle) after the expiration of the second consecutive full term for which such person was elected. (Amended 3-6-79; 11-2-2004 [Measure M])



Term Expiration

Eligible for another
4-year Term

Mayor Cynthia Chase

December 2018

Yes in 2018

V. Mayor David Terrazas

December 2018


Richelle Noroyan

December 2018

Yes in 2018

Cynthia Mathews

December 2020


Martine Watkins

December 2020

Yes in 2020

Chris Krohn

December 2020

Yes in 2020

Sandy Brown

December 2020

Yes in 2020


How to do a City Initiative [PDF]


Guide to Writing Arguments, Rebuttals, and Analyses for Local Measures [PDF] 

  • Proponents who wish to place a measure on the 2018 ballot must refer to the above guidelines and contact Bonnie Bush, Interim City Clerk Administrator at 831-420-5035 with questions;
  • Petition signatures must be submitted to the City Clerk Administrator by no later than 180 days after public notification of petition circulation;
  • Adoption of an ordinance requires petition signatures of no less than 10% of valid registered voters, and Charter Amendments require petition signatures of no less than 15% of valid registered voters.

  • FPPC Webinars and Live Workshops - The FPPC will be presenting webinars and live workshops in Sacramento for candidates and treasurers. Topics include initial campaign activities, contribution and expenditure rules, reporting requirements, and post-election tasks. If you are the filing officer for campaign statements, candidates or a treasurer you are encouraged to take advantage of these training opportunities.

    View a list of upcoming training events and register for a webinar or workshop at the link above. Note that there are also upcoming webinars regarding the campaign filing officer duties. Please check the FPPC website regularly as training opportunities are continually being added.

  • FPPC Candidate ToolkitNews Release - February 26, 2015: SACRAMENTO – Today the FPPC is launching an online toolkit that provides step-by-step instructions to prospective candidates on how to comply with various rules and laws involved in running for office. This online toolkit condenses several instructional manuals already available from the FPPC into a comprehensive, easy-to-use format. 

    “We want to encourage people to participate in the political process,” said Jodi Remke, Chair of the FPPC. “This one site, one stop toolkit is our latest effort to streamline the process to promote public involvement and improve compliance.” 

    Every year, candidates without extensive campaign experience or a specialized attorney look to the FPPC for guidance on how to comply with the Political Reform Act when conducting their campaigns for public office. The online toolkit provides easy to understand information, including links to the required disclosure forms, filing deadlines, regulations, and frequently asked questions. 

    "The FPPC has created an excellent, comprehensive and user-friendly resource that will help would-be candidates overcome potential barriers to running for office and understand the rules of the road” said Kim Alexander, President and Founder of California Voter Foundation. 

    “California’s campaign reporting and ethics laws are critical to making sure we run fair and open elections,” said Matt Cate, Executive Director of the California State Association of Counties.  “Having all the forms, information and directions in one place will make it easier for local government candidates to comply. The toolkit is also a great resource for the County Clerks and Registrars of Voters who run elections in each of our 58 counties.” 

    Chris McKenzie, executive director, League of California Cities, added, “The new FPPC online toolkit will be a great resource for citizens who want to run for local office. Having election information and requirements in one place will make the process of running for office more easily accessible for people who want to serve their communities in an elected capacity.” 

    “In 2014, the Commission received more than 22,000 requests for advice, underscoring that most public officials strive to stay within the bounds of the law,” said Chair Remke.  “That’s why we’ve taken steps to improve and expand our educational outreach efforts.” 

    The online toolkit follows the recent addition of the FPPC’s “Top Ten List” of top donors to statewide ballot campaigns.  Both are designed to further the FPPC’s goal of making things easier for the officials to do and easier for the public to see. 

    The toolkit can be accessed at FPPC Candidate Toolkit - Getting Started.