Law:Division 20. Election Campaigns (California)

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Contents

Chapter 1. Endorsements Of Candidates

Ca Codes (elec:20000-20010) Elections Code Section 20000-20010



20000. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Truth in Endorsements Law.


20001. The Legislature hereby finds the following to be true: (1) The major political parties have become an integral part of the American governmental system requiring regulation as to their structure, governing bodies, and functions by state government in the public interest. (2) The Legislature has found it necessary and appropriate in the regulation of political parties to create and provide for the convening of state conventions, state central committees, and county central committees for parties qualified by law to participate in the direct primary election, by statute. (3) Over the several years preceding the adoption of this section organizations of electors using as a part of their names the name of a political party qualified to participate in the direct primary election have endorsed candidates for nomination of that party for partisan office in the direct primary election and have publicized and promulgated the endorsements in a manner that has resulted in considerable public doubt and confusion as to whether the endorsements are those of a private group of citizens or of an official governing body of a political party. (4) The voting public is entitled to protection by law from deception in political campaigns in the same manner and for the same reasons that it is entitled to protection from deception by advertisers of commercial products.


20006. The superior court, in any case brought before it by any registered voter, may issue a temporary or permanent restraining order or injunction against the publication, printing, circulation, posting, broadcasting, or telecasting of any matter in violation of this chapter, and all cases of this nature shall be in a preferred position for purposes of trial and appeal, so as to assure the speedy disposition thereof.


20007. No candidate or committee in his or her behalf shall represent in connection with an election campaign, either orally or in campaign material, that the candidate has the support of a committee or organization that includes as part of its name the name or any variation upon the name of a qualified political party with which the candidate is not affiliated, together with the words "county committee," "central committee," "county," or any other term that might tend to mislead the voters into believing that the candidate has the support of that party's county central committee or state central committee, when that is not the case. This section shall not be construed to prevent a candidate or committee from representing that the candidate has the support of a committee or group of voters affiliated with another political party, which committee or group is identified by the name of that party, where the name of the committee or group also includes the name of the candidate. Any member of a county central committee or state central committee may commence an action in the superior court to enjoin misrepresentation by a candidate or committee in his or her behalf, in the manner prohibited by this section, to the effect that the candidate has the support of the state or county central committee involved.

20008. Any paid political advertisement that refers to an election or to any candidate for state or local elective office and that is contained in or distributed with a newspaper, shall bear on each surface or page thereof, in type or lettering at least half as large as the type or lettering of the advertisement or in 10-point roman type, whichever is larger, the words "Paid Political Advertisement." The words shall be set apart from any other printed matter. As used in this section "paid political advertisement" shall mean and shall be limited to, published statements paid for by advertisers for purposes of supporting or defeating any person who has filed for an elective state or local office.

20009. (a) Every simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot shall bear on each surface or page thereof, in type or lettering at least half as large as the type or lettering of the statement or words or in 10-point roman type, whichever is larger, in a printed or drawn box and set apart from any other printed matter, the following statement: "NOTICE TO VOTERS "(Required by Law) "This is not an official ballot or an official sample ballot prepared by the county elections official or the Secretary of State. "This is an unofficial, marked ballot prepared by ____ (insert name and address of the person or organization responsible for preparation thereof)." Nothing in this section shall be construed to require this notice in any editorial or other statement appearing in a regularly published newspaper or magazine other than a paid political advertisement. (b) No simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot referred to in subdivision (a) shall bear any official seal or the insignia of any public entity, nor shall that seal or insignia appear upon the envelope in which it is mailed or otherwise delivered. (c) The superior court, in any case brought before it by any registered voter, may issue a temporary or permanent restraining order or injunction against the publication, printing, circulation, posting, or distribution of any matter in violation of this section, and all cases of this nature shall be in a preferred position for purposes of trial and appeal, so as to assure the speedy disposition thereof.


20010. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), no person, firm, association, corporation, campaign committee, or organization may, with actual malice, produce, distribute, publish, or broadcast campaign material that contains (1) a picture or photograph of a person or persons into which the image of a candidate for public office is superimposed or (2) a picture or photograph of a candidate for public office into which the image of another person or persons is superimposed. "Campaign material" includes, but is not limited to, any printed matter, advertisement in a newspaper or other periodical, television commercial, or computer image. For purposes of this section, "actual malice" means the knowledge that the image of a person has been superimposed on a picture or photograph to create a false representation, or a reckless disregard of whether or not the image of a person has been superimposed on a picture or photograph to create a false representation. (b) A person, firm, association, corporation, campaign committee, or organization may produce, distribute, publish, or broadcast campaign material that contains a picture or photograph prohibited by subdivision (a) only if each picture or photograph in the campaign material includes the following statement in the same point size type as the largest point size type used elsewhere in the campaign material: "This picture is not an accurate representation of fact." The statement shall be immediately adjacent to each picture or photograph prohibited by subdivision (a). (c) (1) Any registered voter may seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction prohibiting the publication, distribution, or broadcasting of any campaign material in violation of this section. Upon filing a petition under this section, the plaintiff may obtain a temporary restraining order in accordance with Section 527 of the Code of Civil Procedure. (2) A candidate for public office whose likeness appears in a picture or photograph prohibited by subdivision (a) may bring a civil action against any person, firm, association, corporation, campaign committee, or organization that produced, distributed, published, or broadcast the picture or photograph prohibited by subdivision (a). The court may award damages in an amount equal to the cost of producing, distributing, publishing, or broadcasting the campaign material that violated this section, in addition to reasonable attorney's fees and costs. (d) (1) This act shall not apply to a holder of a license granted pursuant to the federal Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. Sec. 151 et seq.) in the performance of the functions for which the license is granted. (2) This act shall not apply to the publisher or an employee of a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical that is published on a regular basis for any material published in that newspaper, magazine, or other periodical. For purposes of this subdivision, a "newspaper, magazine, or other periodical that is published on a regular basis" shall not include any newspaper, magazine, or other periodical that has as its primary purpose the publication of campaign advertising or communication, as defined by Section 304.


Chapter 2. Political Corporations

Article 1. Incorporation

Ca Codes (elec:20100) Elections Code Section 20100



20100. If the name of a corporation includes all or part of the name of any person, together with either (a) all or part of the title of any elective office, (b) the date (by year or otherwise) of the election for any office, or (c) any other words or figures indicating the candidacy or nomination of that person for elective office, the Secretary of State shall not accept its articles of incorporation for filing unless there is first filed with him or her a statement signed and acknowledged by that person consenting to the use of his or her name.


Chapter 3. Campaign Funds

Article 1. Solicitation

Ca Codes (elec:20200-20203) Elections Code Section 20200-20203



20200. As used in this article "person" includes a firm, association, corporation, campaign committee or organization.


20201. It is unlawful for any person that includes in any part of its name the name of any political party that was qualified to participate in the last preceding primary election, to directly or indirectly solicit funds for any purpose whatsoever upon the representation either express or implied that the funds are being solicited for the use of that political party unless that person shall have previously obtained the written consent of one of the following: a member of the national committee from California or the majority of the members of the national committee if there are more than two national committee members from California, chairman of the state central committee, executive committee of the state central committee, or executive committee of the county central committee of the party whose name is being used in the county in which the solicitation is to be made. If the county central committee of the party in that county does not have an executive committee, the written consent of the chairman and secretary of that county central committee is sufficient. All persons soliciting funds in accordance with this section shall be furnished with adequate credentials bearing the name of the solicitor and a copy of the written consent that bears the signature of the person authorizing the solicitation.


20202. It is unlawful for any person who solicits funds for the purpose of supporting or promoting any candidates or committees to include in any part of its name the name of that candidate or committee unless that person shall have previously obtained the authorization of the candidate or committee or the candidate's or committee's designated agent to use the candidate's or committee's name in the name of that person. Authorization by a candidate or committee shall not be construed as rendering the person soliciting funds a controlled committee as defined by Section 82016 of the Government Code.


20203. Any person who solicits or receives contributions on behalf of any candidate or committee for the purported and exclusive use of that committee or the candidate's election campaign and who is not authorized by the candidate or committee or the candidate's or committee's designated agent to do so, shall include a notice in any fundraising communication, whether through any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, printed literature, direct mailing, or any other type of general public advertising, or through telephone or individual oral fundraising appeal, clearly and conspicuously stating that the person is not authorized by the candidate or committee and that the candidate or committee is not responsible for the actions of that person.


Chapter 4. Limitations On The Use Of Surplus Campaign Funds

Ca Codes (elec:20301) Elections Code Section 20301



20301. This chapter shall not be construed to impose any reporting obligations in addition to those obligations imposed by other provisions of law, nor shall this chapter apply to the expenditure of campaign funds in conjunction with any pending litigation.


Chapter 5. Fair Campaign Practices

Article 1. General Intent

Ca Codes (elec:20400) Elections Code Section 20400



20400. The Legislature declares that the purpose of this chapter is to encourage every candidate for public office in this state to subscribe to the Code of Fair Campaign Practices. It is the ultimate intent of the Legislature that every candidate for public office in this state who subscribes to the Code of Fair Campaign Practices will follow the basic principles of decency, honesty, and fair play in order that, after vigorously contested, but fairly conducted campaigns, the citizens of this state may exercise their constitutional right to vote, free from dishonest and unethical practices which tend to prevent the full and free expression of the will of the voters. The purpose in creating the Code of Fair Campaign Practices is to give voters guidelines in determining fair play and to encourage candidates to discuss issues instead of untruths or distortions.


Article 2. Definitions

Ca Codes (elec:20420) Elections Code Section 20420



20420. As used in this chapter, "Code" means the Code of Fair Campaign Practices.


Article 3. Code Of Fair Campaign Practices

Ca Codes (elec:20440-20444) Elections Code Section 20440-20444



20440. At the time an individual is issued his or her declaration of candidacy, nomination papers, or any other paper evidencing an intention to be a candidate for public office, the elections official shall give the individual a blank form of the code and a copy of this chapter. The elections official shall inform each candidate for public office that subscription to the code is voluntary. In the case of a committee making an independent expenditure, as defined in Section 82031 of the Government Code, the Secretary of State shall provide a blank form and a copy of this chapter to the individual filing, in accordance with Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code, an initial campaign statement on behalf of the committee. The text of the code shall read, as follows: "CODE OF FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES There are basic principles of decency, honesty, and fair play which every candidate for public office in the State of California has a moral obligation to observe and uphold in order that, after vigorously contested but fairly conducted campaigns, our citizens may exercise their constitutional right to a free and untrammeled choice and the will of the people may be fully and clearly expressed on the issues. THEREFORE: (1) I SHALL CONDUCT my campaign openly and publicly, discussing the issues as I see them, presenting my record and policies with sincerity and frankness, and criticizing without fear or favor the record and policies of my opponents or political parties that merit this criticism. (2) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or his or her personal or family life. (3) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any appeal to negative prejudice based on a candidate's actual or perceived race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, age, sexual orientation, sex, including gender identity, or any other characteristic set forth in Section 12940 of the Government Code, or association with another person who has any of the actual or perceived characteristics set forth in Section 12940 of the Government Code. (4) I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any dishonest or unethical practice that tends to corrupt or undermine our American system of free elections, or that hampers or prevents the full and free expression of the will of the voters including acts intended to hinder or prevent any eligible person from registering to vote, enrolling to vote, or voting. (5) I SHALL NOT coerce election help or campaign contributions for myself or for any other candidate from my employees. (6) I SHALL IMMEDIATELY AND PUBLICLY REPUDIATE support deriving from any individual or group that resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of my opponent, to the methods and tactics that I condemn. I shall accept responsibility to take firm action against any subordinate who violates any provision of this code or the laws governing elections. (7) I SHALL DEFEND AND UPHOLD the right of every qualified American voter to full and equal participation in the electoral process. I, the undersigned, candidate for election to public office in the State of California or treasurer or chairperson of a committee making any independent expenditures, hereby voluntarily endorse, subscribe to, and solemnly pledge myself to conduct my campaign in accordance with the above principles and practices." _____________ __________________________________ Date Signature


20441. The Secretary of State shall print, or cause to be printed, blank forms of the code. The Secretary of State shall supply the forms to the elections officials in quantities and at times requested by the elections officials.

20442. The elections official shall accept, at all times prior to the election, all completed forms that are properly subscribed to by a candidate for public office and shall retain them for public inspection until 30 days after the election.


20443. Every code subscribed to by a candidate for public office pursuant to this chapter is a public record open for public inspection.

20444. In no event shall a candidate for public office be required to subscribe to or endorse the code.


Chapter 6. Libel And Slander

Ca Codes (elec:20500-20502) Elections Code Section 20500-20502



20500. The provisions of Part 2 (commencing with Section 43) of Division 1 of the Civil Code, relating to libel and slander, are fully applicable to any campaign advertising or communication.


20501. (a) A candidate or state measure proponent is liable for any slander or libel committed by a committee that is controlled by that candidate or state measure proponent as defined by Section 82016 of the Government Code if the candidate or state measure proponent willfully and knowingly directs or permits the libel or slander. (b) A person who is a sponsor of a sponsored committee, as defined by Section 82048.7 of the Government Code, is liable for any slander or libel committed by the sponsored committee if the sponsor willfully and knowingly directs or permits the libel or slander.


20502. (a) In any action for libel or slander brought by a candidate, the willingness or unwillingness of the defendant to retract or correct a communication made in the course of a campaign, and his or her action in doing so, shall be admissible in evidence in the exemplary damages phase of a bifurcated trial. (b) The remedy provided by this section is in addition to any other remedy provided by law.


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