(Effective November 4, 1998, the Vermont General Assembly created a public finance system for
candidate for GOVERNOR and LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR ONLY. Vermont’s
campaign finance law can be found in Chapter 59 of Title 17 of the Vermont
Statutes Annotated. Public finance
statutes begin with section 2851 of Chapter 59.)
History of Use Since 2000:
the 2000 Election was the first year that public financing took effect for the races for governor and
Eligibility (17 V.S.A. §
2853): Candidates for governor and lieutenant
governor can seek public financing for their campaigns. In order to qualify for public funding the
candidate must meet certain qualifications as described below:
Raising or Spending Money. Before February 15 of the general election year,
a candidate for governor or lieutenant governor CANNOT accept contributions totaling $2,000.00 or more, or spend a
total of $2,000.00 or more. (17 V.S.A. §2853)
Announcement of Candidacy: Any
candidate who has announced that he or she seeks an elected position as
governor or lieutenant governor prior to February 15 of the general election
year is INELIGIBLE for public financing.
Fundraising Except Qualifying Contributions*. A candidate who seeks public funding may not
solicit, accept or expend any contributions except qualifying contributions and
Vermont campaign finance grants
unless there is a shortfall in the Vermont
*A qualified individual
contributor must be an individual who is registered to vote in Vermont. No candidate may accept
more than one qualifying contribution from the same contributor in any Vermont campaign finance
qualification period. No contributor may
make more than one qualifying contribution to the same candidate in any Vermont campaign finance
qualification period. No more than 25
percent of the total number of qualified individual contributors may be
residents of the same county. Each
qualifying contribution must indicate the name and town of residence of the contributor, the date received, and the
signature of the contributor must acknowledge the contribution. A candidate may
retain and expend qualifying contributions. A candidate may expend the
qualifying contributions for the purpose of obtaining additional qualifying
contributions and may expend the remaining qualifying contributions during the
primary and general election periods. Amounts expended to obtain qualifying
contributions are expenditures of the candidate and will count toward the
candidate’s spending limits. (17 V.S.A. §2854)
Qualifying Contributions Required (17 V.S.A. § 2854): The candidate must collect qualifying
contributions during the qualification period* in the following amount and
(1) For governor, a total amount of no less
than $35,000.00 collected from no fewer than 1,500 qualified individual
contributors making a contribution of no more than $50.00 each.
(2) For lieutenant governor, a total amount
of no less than $17,500.00 collected
from no fewer than 750 qualified individual contributors making a contribution
of no more than $50.00 each.
*qualification period -- begins February 15 of each
even-numbered year and ends on the third Monday of July (date that primary
petitions must be filed).
for Application by filing the Vermont Campaign finance affidavit. 17 V.S.A. § 2852. A candidate seeking Vermont
campaign finance grants from the Vermont
campaign fund must file a Vermont
campaign finance affidavit on the third Monday of July of the election year.
“Affidavit” means the Vermont
campaign finance affidavit prepared by the Secretary of State. This form is available from the Elections
Dollar Amounts of VT
Campaign Finance Grants for Governor and Lt. Governor (17
V.S.A. § 2855):
extent funds are available, the Secretary of State shall make grants from the Vermont
campaign fund in separate grants for the primary election period* and the
general election period** to candidates who have qualified for Vermont
campaign finance grants. (17 V.S.A.
*Primary election period begins the day after primary
petitions must be filed and ends the day of the primary election.
**General election period begins the day after the
primary election and ends the day of the general election.
Whether a candidate has entered a primary or is
an independent or minor party candidate, Vermont
campaign finance grants shall be in the following amounts, except to
incumbents, who shall be entitled to receive a grant in an amount equal to 85
percent of the amount listed below:
primary election period*; and
$225,000.00, general election period
Lt. Governor: $25,000.00,
primary election period*; and $75,000.00
general election period
*The primary election period grant to all candidates
shall be reduced by the amount of qualifying contributions received.
The candidate may use grants awarded in a
primary election period, but not spent, in the general election period.
If the Vermont
campaign fund does not have enough money in it to provide Vermont
campaign finance grants to all candidates who qualify, the available funds
shall be distributed proportionately among qualifying candidates. If grants are reduced, a candidate may
solicit and accept additional contributions equal to the amount of the
difference between the amount of the Vermont
campaign finance grants authorized and the amount received under this section.
campaign finance grants for a primary election period shall be paid to
qualifying candidates within the first ten business days of the primary
election period. Vermont campaign
finance grants for a general election period shall be paid to qualifying
candidates during the first ten business days of the general election period.
Qualifying Contributions and Campaign Finance Grants (17 V.S.A. § 2853). A
candidate who accepts Vermont
campaign finance grants must:
Deposit all qualifying contributions, Vermont
campaign finance grants and any other permissible contributions in a federally
insured non-interest-bearing checking account.
Not later than 40 days after the general election, and after all permissible expenditures have been
paid, deposit the balance in the campaign account in the Vermont
public financing (17 V.S.A. § 2855):
A candidate in an uncontested general election
is not qualified to receive public funding.
A candidate who loses a primary election but who
remains eligible to run for office will not be eligible for a general election
Candidates disqualified as described above may
solicit and accept contributions subject to the normal limitations and
expenditures shall be limited to an amount equal to the amount of the grant for
the general election for the office being pursued.