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Qualifying Contributions

In order to qualify for public funds under the Maine Clean Election Act, a candidate must demonstrate a threshold amount of community support by collecting a minimum number of checks or money orders of $5 or more made payable to the Maine Clean Election Fund. For legislative candidates, the contributions must be made by registered voters in the candidate's district, and for candidates for governor the contributions must be made by individuals registered to vote in Maine.

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Required Amounts

Candidates must collect a minimum of:

  • 60 qualifying contributions for House candidates
  • 175 qualifying contributions for Senate candidates
  • 3,250 qualifying contributions for Gubernatorial candidates

Candidates are encouraged to collect more than the minimum number of qualifying contributions in case some contributors are not registered to vote in the district or the state.

Qualifying Periods

The qualifying contributions must be collected after the candidate has filed the Declaration of Intent with the Ethics Commission. Contributions received more than 5 business days before the Declaration of Intent has been filed will not be counted toward the eligibility requirements.

The qualifying contributions must also be collected during the applicable qualifying period:

  • Legislative Candidates: January 1 - April 20
  • Gubernatorial Candidates: October 15 - April 1

Unenrolled candidates (candidates who do not belong to a qualified political party in Maine) have the same qualification deadline as party candidates. There are special qualifying periods for replacement candidates.

Receipt and Acknowledgment Form

The individuals making the qualifying contributions must either sign a paper receipt and acknowledgment form or contribute online. The campaign must bring the paper forms to the town or city clerk to verify that the individual making the contribution is registered to vote in the candidate's district (for legislative candidates) or in the state (for gubernatorial candidates). The qualifying contributions website will attempt to automatically verify the voter registration status of contributors. Those successfully verified online need no further action from the candidates. If the system cannot verify the contributor's registration, the candidate must have it verified by the town or city clerk.

Family Members

Family members who live in the same household may make qualifying contributions in the form of a single check, provided that the name of the checking account includes all of the contributors. All of the individuals must sign the receipt and acknowledgment form. In some cases, it may be acceptable to include in the check funds from an additional individual in the household whose name is not on the account if the individual lacks a checking account.

Business Checks

Qualifying contributions must be made with the personal funds of the registered voter. If the checking account is in the name of a business, the Commission staff will not count the check toward the eligibility requirement unless the individual's name is printed on the check or the candidate submits a written statement from the contributor indicating that the business account is used for personal purposes.

Money Orders

Candidates or supporters may purchase money orders to facilitate their collection of qualifying contributions. The individuals making the contributions must give $5 in cash to the campaign, and must sign both the money order and the Receipt and Acknowledgment form. Any fees for the money orders must be reported on the seed money campaign finance report as in-kind contributions or expenditures.