When/How do I open a committee?
Opening a committee is the VERY FIRST THING candidates should do when they are running for office. The required forms will guide you through the steps of starting your committee: choosing a committee name, choosing a treasurer, a bank account, etc.
Statement of Organization – What will your committee name be? Who will be your treasurer (yourself, or another)? Where will you open your committee bank account? Where will you receive your committee information (mailing address, phone number)?
Once you know these things, you will need to certify your treasurer’s information and your bank account information by completing the CRO-3100 and the CRO-3500.
An optional form to complete with your Statement of Organization packet is the CRO-3900, on which you will declare to what entity or persons money left in your committee bank account will be given in the case of your death.
IF you intend to raise or spend $1,000 or less in support of your candidacy, you must complete a CRO-3600 to be exempt from reporting your transactions. HOWEVER, keep a record of all transactions in the event that you exceed $1,000 or an investigation is launched. All of these forms must be completed within 10 days of any of the following actions:
Opening a bank account
Accepting or spending money (including in-kinds) in support of your candidacy
Announcing your candidacy publicly
Filing for candidacy at the Board of Elections office
What should I do when I open a bank account?
Get a Federal Tax ID number so no personal information can be accessed in case of an audit or investigation. Open a business account with your ID number. You can apply online for a Federal Tax ID number here:
Who should be my treasurer?
The candidate may be their own treasurer, but the candidate’s spouse may not be. The treasurer must be AT LEAST 18 years old, and it is recommended that the person have previous experience in finance or campaign finance. Upon request, our office can provide you a list of experienced treasurers.
Who needs to take the Mandatory Treasurer Training?
The treasurer of the committee is required to take the training within 3 months of signing the Statement of Organization paperwork. The training must be taken every 4 years.
We recommend that the Candidate attend the training with their treasurer. The training includes specific information about prohibited transactions and helpful information about what to do to remain in compliance when you are conducting fundraisers.
An assistant treasurer (if applicable) is also required to attend the training. A custodian of books is NOT required to take the training.
Is training available online?
Yes! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and committee name and note that you are interested in receiving the training online. You will be sent a link to the online training page.
NOTE: Questions may not be submitted via online training. We recommend that you attend training in person so that you can ask questions at the State Board of Elections as you take the training. Alternatively, you may write down your questions and email them afterward.
What is the Certification of Threshold?
This certifies to the NC State Board of Elections that you intend to raise and/or spend $1,000 or less in support of your candidacy and, therefore, are exempt from the regular reporting schedules.
This does not exempt you from keeping records of your transactions, in the case that you go over $1,000 or an investigation is launched. In the event of either of these happening, you would need to disclose ALL transactions regarding your committee since its inception.
A new Certification of Threshold, Form CRO-3600, is REQUIRED at the beginning of every election cycle.
Where do I get these forms?
The NC State Board of Elections website has a complete list of forms to open and report for your committee.
Campaign Reporting Forms
How do I complete the forms?
Most of the time, next to each form on the reporting forms list, there are instructions AND a sample of a complete and correct form. You can use these as a guide when you complete your forms.
Why do I need these forms?
Occurrence of financial activity has to be reported. The media, opponents and voters will be paying attention to who is giving you the money and how it is being spent. Each form represents a different type of transaction where you will give details about what you did during a specific time period.
Example 1: Did you receive contributions at a fundraiser or from your PayPal account? If yes, you will fill out a contributions sheet. Who gave you that money? A neighbor? Another candidate? A Political Party? You will need a Contributions from Individuals, Contributions from Political Party Committee, or a Contribution from Other Political Committees form.
Example 2: Did you spend money on election materials or office supplies for your campaign, such as pens, signs, buttons, paper for fliers, etc.? Did you make a contribution to another candidate running for office? If yes, you will need two disbursements sheets, one with operating expenses for your pens, signs and buttons checked at the top of the form, and another disbursements sheet with Contributions to Other Political Committees checked at the top. (NOTE: Do not check more than one disbursement type on the same sheet.)
How do I know when a Report is due?
We post the current reporting schedule on our website at the beginning of the year. The schedules may be different depending on the office you are seeking.
Example: The Wake County Board of Education reporting schedule during the election year is different from the Morrisville Town Council reporting schedule. Make sure you are following the correct schedule by checking above each block of the schedule. We include which contests are on which schedule. If you have questions, email email@example.com
We recommend the use of Certified Mail when submitting your reports. In the event that the post office does not postmark your reports and they arrive after the due date, we will certify the report as late.
NOTE: Never submit a report in advance of the period end date for that report.
What if I submit my report after the due date?
Committees will be assessed civil penalties for reports that are not received or postmarked by the due date. The penalty fees will have to be paid to the NC Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund from the committee’s bank account.
Contact the State Board of Elections for rates of penalties.
What forms are due for each report?
Two forms that are on EVERY report are the Disclosure Report Cover (CRO-1000) and the Detailed Summary (CRO-1100), even if no transactions were made during that period.
As for what forms are due, that depends on what transactions you’ve made.
A “Best Practice” for figuring out what forms you need to submit is to “have a seat with” your bank statements (or your online bank history) and receipts. Print a Detailed Summary sheet and categorize each transaction as pertinent to a corresponding form.
Example 1: You have contributions from when you went door to door to raise money. Those would be contributions from individuals. You need a Contributions from Individuals (CRO-1210) form to detail all of your receipts.
Example 2: You spend money on postage to mail campaign messages to potential voters. That would be a disbursement. You will need a Disbursements (CRO-1310) form.
What is the period start and end date for each report?
The reporting schedule has all the coverage dates for each report that will be due for candidates during a given year.
The Organizational Report is due within 10 days of financial activity for the committee, as defined above. The next report’s start date would be the day after the end date of the Organizational Report.
Example: The committee filed for office on 7/5/2013. The Organizational Report dates are 7/5/2013–7/15/2013. The next report due according to the reporting schedule is the 2013 Thirty-Five Day Report. The start date would be 7/16/2013 and the end date would be 8/27/2013.
What is an Election Cycle?
An Election Cycle is related to the term of the seat for which you are running. The Raleigh Mayoral term is two years; therefore, the election cycle duration is two years. The START of the election cycle is January 1 of the year your term begins. The END of the election cycle is December 31 of the year the term ends.
Example: The Raleigh Mayoral election cycle begins on January 1, 2014, and will end on December 31, 2016.
What is an in-kind contribution?
An in-kind contribution is one that was made on behalf of the committee in the form of goods rather than monetary.
Example: If a supporter wanted to host an event and provide refreshments for a fundraiser as a donation to the committee, and the committee did not pay for any of the supplies, food, venue, etc., that would be considered an in-kind contribution.
Contributions received in this manner still need to be reported but will not affect the bank balance on your campaign finance reports. It should be shown as an in-kind receipt on the CRO-1210 form, but so as not to inflate the account balance (since it is not money deposited in the account), it is also reported on a CRO-1510 to offset that receipt.
Examples: Baked goods, gas for transportation, election materials, catering for a fundraiser, web domain creation and maintenance, etc. (Reminder: These are things that were donated and NOT paid for with committee funds.)
What is an Account Code?
An account code is letters or numbers that the candidate designates as an indicator of the account in which the transactions occurred. Candidates often use their initials, favorite number or something that signifies to the auditor which account is being used for their reported transactions.
What is my Candidate ID number?
This is a number given to state candidates only by the NC State Board of Elections. All county and municipal candidates should leave this section blank.
What are the different forms of payment for contributions and expenditures?
Cash, draft, credit card, check or in-kind. Cash in excess of $50 is prohibited, and cash may not be used to pay for media expenses.
What is the difference between a CRO-1205 and a CRO-1210?
A Contributions from Individuals (CRO-1210) form is the standard form that can be used to report all contributions. Personal information for all contributors is required on this form.
“Aggregates” refer to contributions of $50 or less. You are not required to disclose the personal information of those who give $50 or less to your committee; HOWEVER, this information must be kept in your records. If a person gives the committee more than $50 cumulatively during an election cycle, their information must be disclosed on a CRO-1210 in the report period in which they exceeded the limit.
What are the rules for disclosing employment information?
Employer’s information and contributor's job title are required fields on the CRO-1210.
Retired/Retired is not an acceptable entry. Retired/School Teacher or Wake County Public Schools is acceptable.
The only exemptions are for homemakers and the unemployed. These descriptions can be entered for both the employer information and job title fields.
How can I file my reports electronically?
Electronic filing is offered by the NC State Board of Elections as an alternative to filing your reports manually. It requires using the Campaign Reporting Software that is available for download at www.ncsbe.gov; it is available only for Windows® operating systems. Macintosh is not supported.
NOTE: When you file your report electronically, please “CC” firstname.lastname@example.org in your email so that our office will know that you submitted your report timely.
IMPORTANT: You MUST submit an original signed copy of the Disclosure Report Cover to our office once you have submitted your report electronically. You can have it postmarked or hand-delivered it by the due date.
May I use a personal credit card?
A personal credit card may be used to make committee payments AS LONG AS you report them on your campaign finance reports as in-kind receipts.
Example: You used a personal credit card to pay for office supplies totaling $55.67. In this case, you would fill out a Contribution from Individuals (CRO-1210) form, giving your personal information; the form of payment would be "in-kind" and the amount would be $55.67. In the comments field, note that supplies were bought with a personal credit card. Also, put the same on your In-Kind Contributions (CRO-1510) form.