Fair Elections Fund

The Fair Elections Fund Act was passed by Denver voters in the November 2018 general election. The fund provides public matching funds to candidates for municipal offices in the next municipal election cycle beginning January 1, 2020.

The fund matches donations of $50 or less at a ratio of 9 to 1 for candidates who voluntarily agree to raise money in lower amounts and take contributions only from individuals and small donor committees. All other campaign finance rules still apply.

The first round of funds for the 2023 Municipal Election will be dispersed to candidates in August 2022. Candidates may begin to collect qualifying contributions on or after January 1, 2020.

Quick guide for candidates seeking public financing through the fund

  1. Familiarize yourself with campaign finance ordinancesrules and our Municipal Candidate Quick Guide
  2. On or after January 1, 2020,  create a candidate committee on the campaign forms page for the 2023 General Municipal Election. If you already have a candidate committee, then you do not need to create another one – it will automatically roll over on January 1st.
  3. Complete the Intent to Seek Certification form indicating that you will begin collecting qualifying contributions. Note: You must fill out this form before soliciting or collecting qualifying contributions. 
  4. Begin collecting qualifying contributions. The law requires you to provide each contributor with a receipt, which must contain the following information:
    • Contributor’s printed name
    • Contributor’s home address
    • Contributor’s telephone number
    • Name of candidate being contributed to
    • The statement: “I understand that my contribution, up to $50.00, will be matched by the Fund at 900 percent and that this contribution is made without any coercion or reimbursement.”                                         

a. After our office receives your Intent to Seek Certification form in Step 3, we will automatically create an electronic receipt template that you may use. We will provide the template to you within one business day. Alternatively, if you want to use your own receipts, we strongly encourage you to send them to the Clerk’s office for review and approval before you issue them.

b. Be sure to keep your receipts because you will need to submit them to the Clerk and Recorder’s office as evidence that you received the minimum number of qualifying contributions.

5. You will continue to file your candidate reports as scheduled:

  • The report due on July 31, 2020 will cover from January 1 – June 30, 2020
  • The report due on January 31, 2021 will cover from July 1 – December 31, 2020

6. Once you believe that you have the minimum number of required qualifying contributions from unique contributors, submit an Application for Certification as a Participating Candidate in the Fair Elections Fund. The Clerk’s office will review your application and either approve or deny it within 10 business days. If you are approved, you will be a “participating candidate” and may continue to receive qualifying contributions. The first payment to participating candidates will occur in August of 2022.

* Interested individuals are advised that legal provisions are subject to amendment from time to time. Therefore, it is incumbent on a person to determine if any new legislation or rules have been enacted. Information contained in this guide may not be either exclusive or all-inclusive of other information required to run for municipal office in Denver. It is the sole responsibility of a candidate committee to determine and comply with applicable state or local laws, statutes, ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies in order to run for municipal office. If you require advice or an interpretation concerning legal requirements, we suggest that you contact a private attorney. The Office of the Clerk and Recorder cannot and will not provide legal advice.