City Council Elections

VOTE 2022

The City Clerk is the Election Official for the City of Palo Alto and administers all municipal elections for the City. The City Clerk’s Office assists candidates in meeting their legal responsibilities from election pre-planning to certification of election results and filing of all campaign disclosure documents. The City Clerk's Office also assists with ballot initiatives, referendums and measures. The City of Palo Alto contracts with the County of Santa Clara Registrar of Voters to facilitate the election voting, but reserves the right to qualify all candidates for office.

Elections for City Council are held in November of even numbered years. Council Members are elected at-large and serve staggering four year terms. Every January the City Council chooses a Mayor by majority vote to serve a one year term. 

Next City Council Election

  • Election Date: November 8, 2022
  • Three City Council seats are up for election
  • The Candidate Nomination Filing Period is Monday, July 18, 2022 to Friday, August 12, 2022. If an incumbent does not file by the deadline, the Nomination Period is extended to Wednesday, August 17, 2022. The nomination papers are issued by appointment only, please use our online portal to book an appointment.

New and Noteworthy Resources

Check out some new and noteworthy resources to help you this election year:

  1. Interested in a City Council Candidacy? Read our 2022 Candidate Guide(PDF, 19MB)
  2. Sign up for Santa Clara County ROV's Candidate School workshop on June 21, 2022.
  3. Want to start an initiative/referendum? See our Initiative Petition Reference Guide(PDF, 158KB).

How to Run for City Council

Nomination and Qualification

The nomination period opens on July 18, 2022 and closes on August 12, 2022. This is the time period where interested individuals must qualify to become City Council candidates. If an incumbent, or the currently seated elected official, does not file for re-election then the nomination period is extended for 5 more days to August 1, 2022. The nomination petition is filed with the City Clerk by appointment only, please use our online portal to book an appointment.

During the nomination period you are required to:

  • Obtain 25 signatures from Palo Alto registered voters nominating you for City Council
  • Submit a 200 word candidate statement that will appear in the Voter Guide
  • Submit your Ballot Designation, or the three words you want to appear next to your name on the ballot
  • Sign a Code of Fair Campaign Practices
  • Acknowledge the City’s Political Sign regulations

There are three eligibility requirements to run for City Council.

  1. Be Registered To Vote in Palo Alto
    Unless otherwise specifically provided, no person is eligible to be elected or appointed to an elective office unless that person is a registered voter and otherwise qualified to vote for that office at the time that nomination papers are issued to the person or at the time of the person’s appointment. (Elections Code Section 201)
  2. Have No Felony Convictions
    A person is disqualified from holding an office upon conviction of designated crimes as specified in the Constitution and laws of the state. (Government Code Section 1021)
  3. If Elected, You Have to Serve
    The Declaration of Candidacy, which each candidate must file, states that if elected the candidate will qualify for and accept the office. The affidavit also states that the candidate will not withdraw before the election. (Elections Code Section 8028, 8040, 10510, 10511) 

How to Register to Vote

Voter Registration Deadline: 15 days before Election Day

Use the California Online Voter Registration System to register to vote!

Paper registration forms are available at the County Registrar of Voters Office, U.S. Post Offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and public libraries. Signed and completed forms must be returned in person or by mail, they cannot be faxed or e-mailed.


You can register to vote if you are:

  • At lease 18 years old by Election Day
  • A United States citizen and resident of California
  • Not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony, and
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court

You can pre-register to vote if you are:

  • At least 16 years old
  • A United States citizen
  • Not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony
  • Your voter registration will become active when you turn 18

Campaign Finance

Campaign finance is governed by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) of the State of California. All candidates for state and local office and any committee formed to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure are required to file campaign disclosure statements. The FPPC has manuals that walk you through the process. Candidates for City Council should review Manual 2: Information for Local Candidates. It is the responsibility of the candidate and/or committee to file the required campaign disclosure statements in a timely manner. If you have any questions please consult the FPPC's campaign disclosure manuals or ask the FPPC for advice

Additionally, candidates running for local office are required to file Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interests). Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date of filing your declaration of candidacy must be reported. The City of Palo Alto uses the online system NetFile for entering and disclosing candidate's statements.

NetFile Employee/Elected Official Login

NetFile System Public Portal

Other Resources

Political Signs

Section 16.20 in the Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) details regulations for political signs. In Palo Alto, political signs do not require a permit, but there are some regulations to follow.

  1. Political signs may be erected in conformity with PAMC Section 16.20.100 and 16.20.160, which prohibits signs on public property and regulates size and height.
  2. Political signs must be completely removed no later than six days following the day of the election to which it relates. Any political sign not removed within six days shall be considered abandoned and shall be removed by the Building Division (PAMC 16.20.160(b)(2)).
  3. Unsafe and unlawful signs per PAMC 16.20.240(b) may be removed by the Building Division or the Police Department.
  4. Before placing any signs or sign structures within view of a county or state highway, a statement by a responsible party requiring a notarized signature must be filed with the Chief of the Highway Outdoor Advertising Program, State Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 942874, Sacramento, CA 94274- 0001, or 1120 "N" Street (5th floor), Sacramento, California 98514.

Wall Signs

In residential districts, wall signs shall not exceed an area of one square foot of sign for each forty square feet of wall area, except that regardless of the size of the building face:

  1. Any such sign or combination of signs may have an area of at least six square feet and
  2. No such sign or combination of signs shall have an area greater than one hundred fifty square feet.

Freestanding Signs

Freestanding signs shall meet the requirements of the table below. No projecting signs or roof signs shall be erected.
Freestanding Signs.PNG

Reporting Non-Compliance Signs

In the case where signs are non-compliant per PAMC regulations, please contact the City's Code Enforcement Division through PaloAlto311, or the City Clerk at