You can have the world’s most talented baseball team, but you’ll have a hard time winning any games if your players don’t understand or know the rules.
In a democracy, we encourage open participation in the political process, but we also insist that candidates and their campaign teams adhere to a plethora of federal, state and local rules and regulations.
Do your campaign signs need a disclosure? How do you go about participating in Maine’s “clean election” fund? What reports must be filed, and when must they be filed? Can just anyone be your campaign treasurer?
It can be overwhelming, and that’s why you should consider having an experienced professional on your side.
Even with the best of intentions, it’s too risky to jump into the public arena without a solid understanding of the many laws and regulations that can derail your campaign.
Ignorance of the law is an inadequate defense, and it can cost you a lot more than an election victory. You could face serious fines and penalties, including jail time.
In a later post, we will discuss the separate issue of campaign ethics, but for now make sure your team knows the rules before you declare yourself as a candidate.
In the meantime, the following links provide valuable resources to candidates, campaign staffers and others who want to play for keeps in the public policy arena.
- Maine Secretary of State: Candidate Guidelines
- Maine State Law: Campaign and election statutes
- Federal Election Commission: Ready for the big leagues?
- Maine Ethics Commission
Your local city or town clerk’s office can also be a tremendous resource for you. Take advantage of these resources if you are remotely serious about winning your campaign.
I invite you to discuss this subject and other Pro Tips with me: Contact
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Randy Seaver is a former newspaper editor, and today works as a professional strategic communications consultant. He specializes in organizing and coordinating political campaigns on the local state and federal level.
He has successfully served as communications director on a wide variety of statewide referendum questions, grassroots organizing for federal policy campaigns and running the campaigns for local candidates and referendums in his hometown.
He and his wife, Laura, live in Biddeford, Maine and have two sons