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  • Council Members are elected at-large and serve 4-year terms.
  • The Mayor and Vice Mayor are appointed every year in December by the City Council and serve for only one year.
  • Regular City Council Meetings are held on the first, and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

To run for City Council, a person must be a resident, 18 years and older, and registered to vote in the City of East Palo Alto. 


If you are planning to run for City Council, please remember the following steps:

1.  You MUST fill out the Fair Political Practice Commission's candidate statements (Form 501, Form 410, and Form 700).  File the Form 501 and Form 700 with the Deputy City Clerk.  File Form 410 with the Secretary of State. 

2. Please carefully read the information below; and

3. Please pace yourself and breathe, because it will be a long election process.

Nomination Period

Every election begins with a "nomination period." This is the period of time that begins 113 days before the day of the election and ends 88 days before the day of the election. This is the period of time during which you can obtain your nomination packet, which includes the forms you need to and must submit to the City Clerk's Office to pursue your goal for City Council.

Nomination Papers

Your official nomination papers will be included in your nomination packet. To qualify as a candidate, you must obtain the signature of at least 20, but not more then 30, registered voters in East Palo Alto.

There is a $25.00 filing fee of nomination papers per Municipal Code 2.64.020 to file with the City of East Palo Alto. Additionally, there will be another filing fee charged by the County of San Mateo. For more information call (650) 363-4988.

Also become familiar with requirements of running for office by downloading, "Candidates & Campaigns- 10 Things you need to know to declare your Candidacy for Local Elective Office" -   https://www.shapethefuture.org/campaigns/declarecandidacy/

Ballot Designation

This is the word, or group of not more than three words, which will appear on the ballot under your name. It designates your principal profession, vocation or occupation, subject to certain requirements of the Elections Code.

Candidate Statement

The statement is limited to 200 words, as defined by the Elections Code.  The statement is published in the Sample Ballot and mailed to all registered voters.  If you choose to have a candidate statement, you will be responsible for the cost of printing, translating and publishing the statement in the Sample Ballot.

Campaign Statements
The candidate must fill out and submit Form 501 - Candidate Intention Statement, before the candidate can solicit or receive any contributions for your candidacy and Form 700 - Statement of Economic Interest by the final date for filing the Declaration of Candidacy.

Campaign Signs
Please consult the City of East Palo Alto's Municipal Code to ensure that your signs are placed at proper locations as mentioned. Or, you may contact Guido Persicone, Planning Manager, at (650) 853-3189.

Please contact Maria Buell, City Clerk, if you have questions about or are interested in running for a seat on the East Palo Alto City Council at (650) 853-3127 or email