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Getting Started

Interested in running for city office? Candidate Services is here to help. Candidate Services Liaisons are trained to assist campaigns with the getting started process and can help answer any questions you may have.

For the health and safety of staff and visitors during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Campaign Finance Board's office is temporarily closed to the public and staff is providing all services remotely. The Candidate Services Unit is available via email at CandidateServices@nyccfb.info or video conferencing during normal business hours (9 AM – 5 PM).

While the office is closed, all forms and documents will be accepted electronically. Please fill out the applicable form completely, sign, and submit it as a single PDF to
documents@nyccfb.info. The notarized, hard copy with original signatures for Certifications and Filer Registrations must be submitted by campaigns once the office reopens.

Registering with the CFB

Prior to raising or spending money, you must complete the following steps.

  1. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

    EIN numbers are assigned to corporations, partnerships, political committees, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. It is mandatory for registering a committee and opening a bank account. You may apply for and obtain an EIN directly from the Internal Revenue Service website or by calling (800) 829-1040 for assistance.

    If you have previously run for an elected office covered by the Campaign Finance Program (mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or City Council member), you must authorize a new committee for each election cycle and obtain a new EIN.
  1. Open a bank account in your committee’s name.

    Ask the bank if it provides images of both the front and back of cancelled committee checks. This is a CFB requirement. If your bank offers online banking, make sure you have access to the scanned images of both sides of all checks.

    Obtain a committee debit card. Using a debit card is the most convenient way to track all purchases.

    If you have previously run for an elected office covered by the Campaign Finance Program (mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or City Council member), you must open a new bank account for each election cycle. Program participants may only open one authorized committee per election cycle.

    Note: If you are unable to open a bank account without documentation that you have registered your committee with the CFB, please see step 3.

  2. Register your committee with the CFB

    Register your committee by submitting either a Certification or Filer Registration (FR) form. If you would like to be a participant in the Matching Funds Program, your campaign must complete the Certification to register with the CFB and become eligible for public matching funds. Non-participating candidates only fill out the Filer Registration. All forms must be legible, contain the original signatures and initials of both the candidate and treasurer (photocopies will not be accepted), and be notarized.

    Once your Certification or FR has been processed, a Welcome email including login credentials for C‑Access and C‑SMART will be sent to the email address you registered with the CFB. C‑Access is the CFB’s interactive website that provides a secure way to view campaign information and receive important audit and legal notices. C‑SMART is the web application campaigns must use to enter financial transactions, maintain contributors’ information, and file disclosure statements with the CFB.

    In order to register with the CFB, you must disclose your committee’s bank account information, including account number. If your bank is unable to open an account without official documentation from the CFB that you have registered or intend to register your committee, you may submit a completed Certification or Filer Registration without the bank account information. The CFB will process your registration, confirm your registration via email, and add you to the registered Candidate List. You must then open a bank account and provide your bank account information to the CFB within 15 business days or before the end of the current disclosure period, whichever is sooner. You will provide this information by submitting a Change of Bank Account form. You will not receive the Welcome email with log-in credentials for C‑SMART until you complete this step. Program participants who fail to provide bank account information and a voided committee check are ineligible for public funds.

    Download the Filer Registration form
    Download the Certification form
    Find out more about certifying into the Program.

    Once you have completed the steps above, you are ready to begin fundraising and campaigning.

Next Steps

  1. Attend a CFB Training (mandatory)

    The candidate, treasurer, or an individual with significant managerial control must attend both a Compliance and a C‑SMART training. Compliance trainings cover campaign finance law and CFB rules. C‑SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB’s web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity.

    The CFB also offers a New to the CFB seminar that is geared toward first-time candidates, treasurers, and campaign staff. This seminar is optional and will cover an overview of some expectations and demands of running for a CFB-covered office. Recommendation: Attend this seminar prior to the Compliance and C‑SMART trainings.

    Note: All trainings are open to the public, even if you have not yet registered your campaign with the CFB.

    View the training calendar/schedule a training
  1. Contact your Candidate Services Liaison

    You will be assigned a liaison to assist your campaign throughout the election cycle once your committee is registered with the CFB. Your liaison is trained to answer questions about compliance and C‑SMART and will be one of your campaign’s most valuable resources. Your liaison will also remind you of important deadlines and filing requirements.
  1. Set up an NYC Votes Contribute account

    NYC Votes Contribute is a fundraising platform created by the CFB to simplify the process of collecting credit card contributions online while meeting the CFB’s reporting and recordkeeping requirements. While optional, this platform allows you to easily solicit credit card contributions via your campaign website and social media platforms and set up fundraising events to more easily track and report contributions raised.

Request Getting Started information

If you would like to receive further information about running for local offices before you register, please complete and submit a Getting Started Form.