Running for Local Office
In Fitchburg municipal elections are held every two years in the City of Fitchburg. Municipal Elections are typically held on odd years. The next election is in 2023. City positions which will be on the ballot include: Mayor, City Councilor-at-Large, School Committee, and Ward Councilor.
Elections in the City of Fitchburg are conducted by the Board of Registrars of Voters and supervised by the City Clerk. The Board of Registrars of Voters is made up of 4 residents of the City of Fitchburg with two members representing each of the leading political parties. The City Clerk is a member of the Board.
Qualifying to Run for Local Office
For Municipal Public Office, any person who is a resident of the City of Fitchburg and who is a registered voter may run for local office. Candidates for Ward Councilor must also reside in the ward for which they are running.
The first step in running for office would be to contact the City Clerk's Office. Candidates are required to submit a statement of candidacy with the City Clerk's Office to receive their nomination forms.
Candidates must collected at minimum 50 signatures from registered voters residing in the City of Fitchburg to be placed on the ballot. City-Wide positions such at Mayor, Councilor-At-Large or School Committee may collect the 50 signatures from any Fitchburg Voter. Candidates for Ward Councilor must collect their nomination signatures from the ward in which they are running.
Submission of completed nomination forms must be received by the City Clerk's Office no later than 20 days prior to the scheduled preliminary election. The City recommends candidates collect more than the 50 required signatures. Upon submission the nomination signatures will be reviewed by the Board of Registrars of Voters for certification.
Once Certified the candidate will be placed on the ballot. Following the close of the nomination timeline, if not more than if not more than twice the number of nominations have been certified than the number of positions are available for an individual office then those names will be nominated directly to the general election ballot and no preliminary vote will be held for that specific office.. If more than twice the number of candidates are certified than their will be a preliminary election to determine the final candidates to appear in the general election ballot. This process is determined by Section 44G of the City of Fitchburg Charter.
Municipal Public Offices
Term of Office
|Mayor||1||2 Year Term|
|City Councilor-at-Large||5||2 Year Term|
|School Committee||3||4 Year Term|
|Ward Councilors (Wards 1-6)||1 per ward||2 Year Term|
Ballot Position on a preliminary election ballot, if a preliminary election is needed, will be determined by a drawing by the City Clerk. The candidate or a representative will be invited to be present during the drawing.
Ballot position and the drawing procedure are determined by Section 44B of the City of Fitchburg Charter.
The City Clerk's Office would like to remind candidates of several rules regarding campaigning set by the Fitchburg Zoning Ordinance and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 54 Section 65. Please share this information witch anyone who will be assisting you with campaign activity.
At any point during campaigning:
On Election Day:
- Candidates may enter their own polling location once in order to vote, and then must leave immediately.
- Except as noted above, candidates may not enter or stand within 150 feet of any polling location.
- Candidates and/or their campaign workers may not stand at the door of any pollingplace to greet voters.
- No one may stand with, or place, a campaign sign, or park a vehicle with a campaign sign on it (including a bumper sticker) within 150 feet of the polling location.
- No one may enter any polling location with a campaign t-shirt, baseball cap, etc.
- Campaign materials of all types are strictly prohibited inside and within the 150 feet of any and all polling locations (stickers, sings, brochures, etc.);
- Stickers to be used on the ballot for write-in/sticker candidates may not be distributed within 150 feet of the polling location. A voter may carry a sticker with them in to the polling place if they intend to use iton their own ballot, but may not leave any stickers in the polling place, nor distribute any stickers to anyother voter within 150 of the polling place. All distribution of write-in stickers must occur outside of the150 foot mark.
- Gathering signatures on nomination papers or initiative petitions is prohibited within 150 feet of any polling location.
Any campaign material found in violation of the above instructions will be removed and discarded.
Candidates for mayor must file campaign finance reports with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Candidates and their treasurer's must complete their organizational and finance reporting by registering for the OCPF Reporter 7 platform.
Once you have organized your committee with the OCPF you may complete a CPF D103 Form to set up your Depository Bank Account with one of the OCPF participating banks. Then your Treasurer must complete required Online Treasurer Training with the OCPF. Treasurer Training will supply you with all the required information to fulfill Campaign Finance Reporting Requirements.
For detailed information on the requirements for campaign finance reporting please see the Campaign Finance Guide for Candidates for Mayor or any others who file with the OCPF.
City Councilors, School Committee
Fitchburg, as a community with less than 65,000 residents, requires local campaign finance reporting through the City Clerk's Office.
First time candidates and elected officials should complete and submit to the City Clerk's Office a Statement of Organization Form CPF M 101 for Candidate or Candidate's Committee . Even if, as a candidate, you will not be forming a committee you must still complete the Statement of Organization Form. Candidates who are or become a public employee must form a candidate committee. Candidates may not serve as the treasurer for a committee, nor may any public employee. A candidate may only have one committee and each candidate may only have one campaign bank account.
Candidates not raising or expending any campaign funds may submit a form CPF M 109.
Once you have filed a Statement of Organization with the City Clerk's Office you may set up a bank account for your campaign. Please be aware, whether you form a candidate committee or not, the candidate or committee is required to maintain records of all receipts, expenditures, in-kind contributions and liabilities held by the campaign for a period of six years.
For Guidance on setting up committees, maintaining records and submitting reports please see the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance Guidelines below.
Campaign finance reports are due several times during an election year and annually on non-election years. Candidates should submit Form CPF M 102 with the City Clerk prior the the scheduled deadlines. Exact deadlines can be found in the election calendar. Candidates may use the sign up for the Massachusetts OCPF Reporter 7 platform to complete paperwork for their campaigns, however because local offices file with the City Clerk's Office directly they will need to complete, print, sign and then submit these forms with the City Clerk.
Candidates must submit regular campaign finance reports according to this schedule:
Preliminary Report: Due on or before the 8th day preceding the preliminary election. This report must include all material from the end date of the last campaign finance report through to 10 days prior to the deadline to submit the report. If this is your first report it must include all material to date. This report is only required of candidates who's name appears on a preliminary ballot.
Pre-Election Report: Due on or before the 8th day preceding the city or town general election, complete from the day following the ending date of the last report filed through 10 days before the due date.
Year-End Report: Due on or before January 20 in the year following, complete from the day following the ending date of the last report filed through December 31. This year-end report must be filed every year so long as a committee is in existence, or a candidate maintains a campaign fund, has outstanding debts, or is an incumbent elected official. This report may be considered a final report if the candidate/committee has no cash balance, assets or outstanding liabilities, and did not win.
Campaign Finance Guidelines:
- Campaign Finance Guide for Municipal Candidates who file reports locally.
- Campaign Finance Guide for Municipal Write-In Candidates
- Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division
- Office of Campaign and Political Finance
- How to Run a Write-In Candidacy
Please Contact the City Clerk's Office with any questions or to get started. We are here to help you understand the process.
Fitchburg City Clerk
718 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420