Frequently Asked Questions


  • When is the next election to be held in the City of Santa Ana?
    The next General Municipal Election in Santa Ana will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

  • When are elections normally held in the City of Santa Ana?
    Elections for Councilmembers and the Mayor are held in even-numbered years -- on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The next City election will be held November 6, 2012 and the voters will elect Councilmembers for Wards 1, 3, 5 and the Mayor. In November 2014, Wards 2, 4, 6 and the Mayor's seat will be up for election.

  • What do I need to do to become a candidate for the next City election? When can I obtain the required forms?
    To become a candidate in the next City election, you must first be a registered voter and reside in the ward from which you intend to be nominated, for at least 30 days from the time nomination forms are issued to you. Persons wishing to run for Mayor can live anywhere in the City. Nomination and other candidate forms are only available during the official filing period which begins 113 days before an election, (July 16, 2012 at 8 a.m. and are due by August 10, 2012 at 5 p.m.)

  • Where do I get the required forms to start a Campaign Committee?
    What forms do I need?  You may obtain the required forms in the Clerk of the Council Office, 20 Civic Center Plaza or you may download the forms available through the Secretary of State.  The forms required include:
    1. If a candidate intends to solicit donations or spend more than $1,000 they must file the following forms:

      • Form 410: Statement of Organization - File with the Secretary of State and provide copy to Clerk of the Council Office

      • Form 501: Candidate Intention Statement - File with the Clerk of the Council Office

    2. If a candidate does not spend or solicit more than $1,000 they must file the following forms with the Secretary of State and provide copies to the Clerk of the Council Office:

      • Form 501: Candidate Intention Statement
  • Can I obtain the required forms electronically (e.g. Forms 410, 501 etc.)?
    Yes. The Secretary of State has the forms available on their website.

  • Does the City of Santa Ana have campaign contribution limits?
    Yes. Santa Ana City Charter Section 1206 provides that candidates for city office shall accept no more than $1,000 from any one person per election cycle.  "Election cycle" is the period of time between the date of an election to the office of Mayor or Councilmember and the date of the next election to the same office. The election cycles run 2 years for the Mayor and 4 years for a Ward Councilmember.

NOTE: Candidates have no restrictions as to the amount of money they can contribute from their own personal funds to their campaign account.


  • Where do I get election results? How long does it take to count the ballots?
    At 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, the polls close. All the ballots from the polling places are taken to the Registrar of Voters Office where they are counted by computer. Ballot counting continues until all the ballots received at the polls are tallied (this sometimes takes all night). The results which are "unofficial" at this point are given to the newspapers, television, radio stations, and individuals waiting in the Registrar of Voters Office. Results are also available on the Registrar's web site at http://www.ocvote.com/.

  • When do candidates who are elected take office?
    The Registrar of Voters Office certifies election results (the Registrar has up to 28 days following election day).  The final results are sent to the Clerk of the Council who in turn presents them to the City Council at a Special Meeting for acceptance.  The City Council approves the election results. The Clerk of the Council administers the Oath of Office to the winning candidates.  A term of office begins at 6:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of December following certification of election results.

  • Who is responsible for conducting City elections?
    The Clerk of the Council and the Orange County Registrar of Voters jointly conduct elections for the City of Santa Ana.  The Clerk's staff advises candidates about procedures; accepts and maintains campaign statement reports; provides voter registration forms; maintains precinct information; and provides maps and instruction manuals to candidates.  The Registrar of Voters prints the ballots and voter pamphlet, trains poll workers, administers elections at the polls, counts the ballots, and certifies the election results. The City Council approves the election results and the Clerk of the Council swears in the new Councilmembers and the Mayor.

  • How do I get to be a registered voter in Santa Ana?
    Any person who is 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States or naturalized citizen can register to vote by filling out an Affidavit of Registration.  Check the Registrar of Voters web site at http://www.ocvote.com/ for further information.  Registration forms are available at the following locations:

County of Orange
Registrar of Voters Office
1300 South Grand Avenue
Santa Ana, California

Clerk of the Council Office
Santa Ana City Hall
20 Civic Center Plaza, 8th Floor
Santa Ana, California

  • On election day, how and where do I vote?
    Before each election, the Registrar of Voters sends every registered voter a Voter Information Guide "Sample Ballot" that lists the candidates and tells the voter where to vote (polling place).  On Election Day, you need to go to the polling place indicated on the pamphlet.  At the polls, election workers check the roster for your name and show you how to use the voting equipment.