Campaign finance requirements for New York ballot measures
If any person feels a person or a committee violated the state's campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the New York District Attorney in the county where the offense happened. The District Attorney handles all investigation and prosecutions regardless if it involves civil or criminal laws.
Ballot Issue Committee
Any group that is in support or opposition of a ballot measure is a Ballot Measure Committee.
All Ballot Issue Committees must file a two-part Statement of Organization which certifies the committee's treasurer and their bank account before it can make any expenditures or receive contributions.
Campaign finance requirements
All anonymous contributions cannot be accepted by a Ballot Issue Committee. They must be returned to the New York State Comptroller upon receiving them.
Cash contribution limit
New York limits all contributions made with cash to $100.
There are no limits in New York State for contributions to groups in support or opposition of a ballot issue.
Any Ballot Issue Committee that plans to expend or receive $100 or more must file campaign finance reports.
Reporting requirements and reports
New York uses a semi-annual reporting system for Ballot Issue Committees. The ending date for reporting periods is four days before the due date.
6 Month Periodic Report
All Ballot Issue Committees must file six month periodic campaign finance reports from when a committee first formed until they are terminated. The six month reports are due on January 15th and July 15th. The report is the first campaign report depending on when the committee was first formed.
32 day Pre-election
The 32 day pre-election report is the first pre-election report for Ballot Issue Committees. The report covers all campaign finance activity from the end of the 6 month reporting period or when a committee was first formed until 36 days before the election. The report is due 32 days before the election. This may be the first campaign finance report for a Ballot Issue Committee depending on when they first formed.
15 Day Pre-Election
The 15 day pre-election report is the second pre-election report filed by a Ballot Issue Committee. The report covers all activity from the end of the 32 day pre-election period (35 days before the election) up to nineteen days before the election. The report is due fifteen days before the election
The post-election reporting deadline differs on when a ballot issue is placed on the ballot. All post-election reports are due ten days after the election if the issue is placed on the primary ballot. For campaigns influencing issues during a general or special election, the report is due 27 days after the election.
The post-election report covers all campaign finance activity from the end of the 15 day pre-election period (18 days) up to six days after the primary or twenty-three days after a general/special election.
Campaign advertising restrictions
There are no ad disclaimer requirements under New York law. All Ballot Issue Committees must have records of all advertisments including scripts, air schedules, copies of print ads, and reciepts/correspondence from advertising agencies on file for one year.
Terminating a committee
A Ballot Issue Committee must go through a multiple-step process in order to terminate. The first step is to file a request with the filing officer the committee worked with. The second step is to mark on the check-off box on their campaign finance report that they will plan to terminate. The report must be done via paper and submitted by postal mail or in person. The termination report covers all campaign finance activity from the end of the last reporting period to the date of termination. Also, all surplus funds must be disbursed properly.
Surplus funds can be disbursed to a charity (As long the person that filed for the committee did not hold a leadership role), returned to contributors on a pro-rated basis, or to a candidate/political committee within the contribution limits. Committees can only terminate when filing a post-election report. All Ballot Issue Committees must retain their records for five years after the date of termination.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 [Confirmed with NY State Board of Elections Staff on 2-18-2010, via phone]
- ↑ New York Legislature "New York Election Code"(Referenced Statute 14-100(1))
- ↑ New York Legislature "New York Election Code"(Referenced Statute 14-118(1))
- ↑ New York Legislature "New York Election Code"(Referenced Statute 14-128)
- ↑ New York Legislature "New York Election Code"(Referenced Statute 14-118(2))
- ↑ New York State Board of Elections "2009 Campaign Finance Handbook"(See Page 28)
- ↑ New York Legislature "New York Election Code"(Referenced Statute 14-124(8))
- ↑ New York Legislature "New York Election Code(Referenced Statute 14-108(2))
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 New York Legislature "New York Election Code"(Referenced Statute 14-108(1))
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 New York State Board of Elections "2009 Campaign Finance Handbook"(See Page 15)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 New York State Board of Elections "2009 Campaign Finance Handbook(See Page 15)
- ↑ New York Legislature "New York Election Code"(Referenced Statute 14-106)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 New York State Elections Board "2009 Campaign Finance Manual"(See Pages 37-40)
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