Civics Today: What does it take to run for public office?

As the election season draws near, Keizer, as of June 5, opened registration for those interested citizens who want to undertake one of several non-paid, volunteer leadership positions up for grabs. 

All candidates listed have currently filed with the city for the upcoming election. 

This year, the office of the mayor as well as council positions 1, 2 and 3 are up for reelection. 

The position of the mayor is a two-year term while councilor positions are four-year terms. 

The office of the mayor is currently held by Cathy Clark who is running against Keizer’s former mayor Lore Christopher

Council position 1, currently held by Laura Reid, will be vacant with Francisco Saldivar, an Air Force veteran, who has a background in construction as well as teaching and currently serves as the Director of Apprenticeships at Chemeketa Community College. 

Saldivar is running against former Keizer city councilor Marlene Parsons, another military veteran, who served on the city council from 2013-2021. 

Council positions 2 and 3, which are currently eligible to run for, are held by Council president Shaney Starr in position 2 and Councilor Kyle Juran who is filling position 3. The Keizer City Council has seven seats including the mayor and six council seats. Positions are non-partisan and members are elected via city-wide elections managed by the Marion County Clerk’s office. 

Candidates must declare the position they are running for and can only run for one position at a time. Terms for the current election season are slated to begin January 6, 2025. 

Neither the mayor nor a councilor may be employed by the city during their term of office and the current city council is the final judge of the election and qualification of its members. 

Registration lasts until August 27 at 5 p.m., the end time to ensure that all necessary campaign filing forms are filled out and turned in. 

But how does that work and what exactly is needed to run? 

Keizertimes has gathered together some of the information needed to successfully learn how to be eligible for office as well as the paperwork that needs to be filled out to run for office here in Keizer. 

To start, here are some of the required qualifications needed to be eligible to run for office in Keizer: 

A resident of the city of Keizer must have lived in the city for 12 continuous months prior to filing for a leadership position. 

They must be a qualified elector under Oregon state law meaning that, under Oregon law, they are eligible to vote. 

A potential candidate must have a petition with not less than 120 registered Keizer voters 

How to File 

The city of Keizer follows all state guidelines for candidates filing by nominating petition, or candidates who run via a signed petition of registered Keizer voters. 

The Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division produces a county, city, and district candidate manual that describes this process and guidelines. 

Step 1: File Prospective Petition with City Recorder/ City Elections Officer 

In order to be eligible to run, a candidate must complete forms SEL 101, candidate political filing, and SEL 121, the candidate signature sheet and submit them to the Keizer city recorder/city elections officer Melissa Bisset for approval. 

This needs to be completed before a candidate gathers signatures and in advance of the filing deadline. The city does not require filing fees from prospective candidates to run. 

For information on how to properly complete these forms check out the Oregon county, city, and district candidate manual. 

Step 2: Collect Signatures 

The next important step to becoming an eligible candidate in Keizer requires the completion of a petition. The city recorder/city elections officer will review the petition (Form SEL 121) and then provide written approval authorizing the candidate to begin the collection of signatures should they warrant it. 

It is important to remember that signatures gathered prior to written approval will be rejected. 

Per the Keizer city charter, nominations by petition must have the office sought specified and that the petition contains a minimum of 120 qualified signatures (Keizer registered voters). 

Potential candidates are advised to gather more than 120 signatures to ensure the minimum amount needed is acquired. 

Oregon law requires that each petition sheet be properly certified by its circulator, who must personally witness each signature. 

Step 3: Submit Signature Sheets and Petition Submission 

When enough signatures have been collected, the candidate needs to submit the petition document (SEL 338) and signature sheets (SEL 121) to the city recorder/ city elections officer. 

The signature sheets and petition submission must be turned in no later than Tuesday, August 20, to ensure that enough time is provided for the signature verification process. 

When submitting the signature sheets to the city recorder/ city elections officer, the candidate needs to make sure signature sheets are signed and dated by the circulator (candidate) as well as number each signature sheet sequentially (in order). 

The city recorder/city elections officer is responsible for delivering all of the original signature sheets and petition submission forms to the Marion County elections office. 

If there are not enough valid signatures and the filing deadline has not passed, the candidate may gather and submit additional signatures. 

Step 4: Complete Filing 

After the process of filing, the candidate will receive notification that the signatures have been verified by the Marion County elections office. 

The filing process, to include all needed signature verifications must be completed no later than August 27 at 5 p.m. 

In the event a candidate needs to withdraw from the race, they need to file a SEL 150 Candidate Filing Withdrawal form with the Keizer city recorder/city elections officer no later than August 30, for the November election. 

Campaign Finance Reporting 

Campaign finance reporting is handled at the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division. 

The forms and additional information regarding the campaign finance reporting are located on the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division website or check out the Campaign Finance manual for more detailed information. 

The Oregon Secretary of State campaign finance electronic program is called ORESTAR

If you have more questions about how Oregon campaign finance operates, contact the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division at 503-986-1518 or orestar-[email protected]

Campaign Finance Guidelines 

Candidates need to create an account as well as file a Statement of Organization (SEL 220) designating a candidate committee unless the candidate meets all of the following conditions: 

The candidate serves as the candidate’s own treasurer. 

The candidate does not have an existing candidate committee. 

The candidate does not expect to spend or receive more than $750 during the entire calendar year. 

It is incumbent upon each candidate to keep a record of all contributions and expenditures as, when a candidate crosses a $750 donation threshold, they must establish a committee and open a dedicated bank account no later than three business days after exceeding the threshold. 

If a candidate does not meet all of these conditions and does not expect to receive more than a total of $3,500 or spend that same amount for the calendar year in which a candidate runs, the following steps must be completed: 

File a Statement of Organization (SEL 220) and establish a dedicated bank account – either by using ORESTAR or by submitting the paper form Statement of Organization for Candidate Committee (SEL 220) 

File campaign expenditures via ORESTAR or by submitting the Certificate of Limited Contributions and Expenditures PC 7 no later than seven days after receiving a contribution or making an expenditure. 

If you expect to spend or receive more than $3,500, you will need to do the following: 

File a Statement of Organization (SEL 220) and establish a dedicated bank account, either by using ORESTAR or by submitting the paper form Statement of Organization for Candidate Committee (SEL 220) 

File all campaign finance transactions through ORESTAR. 

Anyone who holds office in Keizer is required to file an annual, verified Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. 

The statement needs to be filed by April 15, each year of the incumbency of the elected official. 

Information that will be requested revolves around sources of income, property owned, various business interests and gifts related to the office received. 

There are civic penalties that can be imposed for failure to file or for insufficient information. 

Training webinars, sample forms, and additional information are located at

For those with more questions, contact the Oregon Government Ethics Commission at mail@ogec. or (503) 378-5105. 

Getting on the voter pamphlet 

Potential candidates have the chance to author a statement in the Marion County voting pamphlet associated with their picture and other biographical information. 

To do this, make a filing fee of $100 payable to Marion County, as well as having the appropriate completed applications must be submitted to the Marion County Elections Division no later than September 9. 

Application forms can be obtained from the Marion County elections website. 

Regulations for elections signs 

Before purchasing or displaying any election signs, candidates must review the Keizer community development bulletin

Election signs may be displayed 45 days preceding the election and must be removed within seven days after the election. 

Here are some important election dates to remember for the upcoming political season. 

November 5, 2023–Any person running for a position on the City Council must have been a City resident by this date. 

June 5–First day to file a Prospective Petition to run for a position on the City Council. 

August 20–Highly recommended last day to submit signature sheets for signature verification in order to provide sufficient time for signature verification. 

August 27–Completion of all filing requirements. 

August 29–Last day to file a candidate statement for inclusion in the Marion County Voter Pamphlet. 

August 30–Last day to withdraw candidacy. 

September 21 – October 31– Marion County Elections Office mails out ballots. 

October 16–Last Day to Register to Vote. 

September 21- November 12– Election sign display period. 

November 5–Election Day 

January 6, 2025–Oath of Office administered at the first City Council meeting of 2025. 

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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