The Office of the City Attorney has issued recommendations regarding when and how candidate names may be used on election outreach material that is created by and/or paid for by Neighborhood Councils.
To avoid accusations of unfair promotions of some candidates over others, the City Attorney’s team recommends that candidate names not be listed on flyers, posters, or other materials distributed to advertise Neighborhood Council-sponsored elections events, such as candidate forums or candidate “meet and greets.” Councils can advertise that candidates will be on hand at the event; it is simply recommended that the individual names not be listed.
Instead, a link can be used to point to the City Clerk’s webpage featuring all your Neighborhood Council’s candidates, along with their statements and photos. To get your NC’s candidate info page, select your Council from the drop down menu here: https://clerkappsele.lacity.org/nccandidates/
If your material is being used online, such as on your website, social media, or email newsletter, you can use that link as-is. However, if you are going to print the link – or if you’re using it where it can’t be clicked, such as in an Instagram post – create a custom shortlink that will be easier for people to remember and replicate.
Use a free tool like Bit.ly or Tiny.cc to create your link, as these tools allow you to customize what your shortened link says, so that it can say something like, http://tiny.cc/ABCNCcandidates. Bit.ly and Tiny.cc have different advantages. Both are free, but bit.ly can be shared on Twitter, and tiny.cc cannot. However, the free version of tiny.cc allows you to change the webpage that your custom shortlink points to, while bit.ly charges for that service. In both cases, keep in mind that your link is case-sensitive, so it’s a good idea to create three different versions of your custom link: one that is CamelCase with interior capital letters, which is the easiest to read; one in all caps; and one all lowercase. Learn more about using shortlinks in our printable one-page guide.
However, if your target audience has limited digital access or ability, they may be unable to use a candidate webpage link. If you feel that your Neighborhood Council’s elections info should include candidate names for that reason, you may include them – but you must meet these three requirements in order to do so:
- Every candidate’s name must be included in your material, and each candidate must have equal representation in your material. If you include one candidate’s photo or statement, you must include them all, for example. To mitigate any appearance of favoritism, organize the names alphabetically; by seat type; or using some other method that makes it clear that names are not being ranked or prioritized in some way.
- The City Attorney now also requires that any elections material that features candidate names first get prior approval from the City Clerk’s office, before being posted or printed. Send your material for review to clerk.electionsNC@LAcity.org, or call during weekday business hours: (213) 978-0444
- Please keep in mind that these election materials should be disseminated equitably so that some candidates do not disproportionately benefit from the distribution. For example, you may not give the material out to just one region, or one type of stakeholder.