On November 8, 2022, San Francisco voters approved Proposition H, which changed the election cycle for Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, and Treasurer from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years concurrent with presidential elections. Proposition H also moved the election scheduled for these offices to be held on November 7, 2023, to November 5, 2024.
This change potentially impacts candidates for these offices and their committees, particularly those who had already formed their committees and those seeking or planning to seek public financing. This notice seeks to provide guidance to candidate campaigns on how the passage of Proposition H may impact their operations and what steps they should take.
A candidate committee established prior to the change of the election date should amend their Form 410 to update their committee name to replace “2023” with “2024.” This change will maintain compliance with the State naming requirements, which include featuring the year of the election in the committee’s name (State Regulation 18402), and allow the committee to continue operating for the new election date.
If the committee had received contributions for the election when it was scheduled for November 2023, it is important to note that the contribution limit established in SEC. 1.114(a) is not reset by the changed election date or the renaming of the candidate committee.
For example, if a given contributor already gave a total of $500 to a committee when the election date was set for 2023, that contributor may not make any additional contributions now that the election date has changed, as that contributor is already at the limit for this election. This is consistent with Ethics Commission Regulation 1.114-2, because changing a committee’s name to reflect the current 2024 election year does not constitute redesignating the committee to support the candidate in a different election. Proposition H moved the election date, but it is still the same election.
Mayoral Candidates Only – Qualifying Contributions for Public Financing Program
The City’s public financing program is available to candidates for Mayor. In order to participate in the program, mayoral candidates must raise a certain amount of “qualifying contributions” within 18 months of the election, but prior to the 70th day before the election.
When the mayoral election was scheduled for November 7, 2023, a committee could have received “qualifying contributions” between May 7, 2022 and August 29, 2023. For the new election date of November 5, 2024, a committee must receive a contribution between May 5, 2023 and August 27, 2024 for it to potentially be a “qualifying contribution.”
However, given the unusual circumstances caused by the passage of Proposition H, there was a period of time during which committees could have been receiving contributions that were within the 18-month pre-election window at the time they were received, but now fall outside of the new window based on the current election date.
Contributions a committee received between May 7, 2022 and the certification of the Proposition H results (December 1, 2022) were eligible to be considered “qualifying contributions” at the time received, provided they met all other requirements. Committees and donors understood that funds raised during this period would count towards reaching the threshold to qualify for the public financing system for the next mayoral election. The voters’ decision to move the election date from 2023 to 2024 does not prevent these contributions from potentially being “qualifying contributions,” provided they meet all other requirements.
In summary, all “qualifying contributions” for the mayoral election to be held on November 5, 2024, must be received between May 7, 2022 and December 1, 2022 or between May 5, 2023 and August 27, 2024.
The above determination is in alignment with Ethics Commission Regulation 1.104-2(a), because the contributions in this situation are not being “carried forward as a contribution to a new campaign,” as this is the same campaign, just with a revised election date.
If any candidates or committees have questions about the implementation of Proposition H and how it may impact them, please contact the Ethics Commission directly at email@example.com or (415) 252-3100.