Running for Public Office - Campaign Finance and Other Rules


All candidates and political committees are required to report their contributions and expenditures from time to time throughout the year.

All candidates are cautioned to PAY ATTENTION to campaign finance. The campaign finance laws are serious. Failure to keep financial records and file the necessary reports can cause serious fines and penalties, including forfeiture of office. No successful candidate may take office until all reports have been filed and fines/fees owed are paid.

Candidates and committees that are active during an election year must file before and after the Primary and the General election on a schedule announced by the PA Department of State. The the 2021 filing schedule is HERE.

Committees that remain open, but are not active when an incumbent is not a candidate in a given year, generally need to file one annual report every year (even if they have no activity) by January 31 of the following year.

Candidates for statewide office, state legislative offices, or for Courts of Common Pleas file their original reports with the Secretary of the Commonwealth at the Pennsylvania Department of State. These state-level candidates must also file a copy of their campaign finance reports with the local election office in the county in which they reside.

Local and county-level candidates file their reports with the county elections office in the county where their nominating petitions were filed. If a campaign finance form mentions filing with the Secretary of the Commonwealth or directs you to an office in Harrisburg, local and county-level candidates simply need to substitute the Election Office of the county where they filed their nominating petitions or papers. For most candidates in Armstrong County, this would mean filing your forms with our Election Office in Kittanning.


An exception is made for candidates whose contributions (including in-kind contributions) received, the amount of money expended, and the liabilities incurred do not exceed $250.00. To be eligible for this exception, the candidate must complete a waiver form. This form is part of our Petition Packet and is usually returned when candidates file their petitions to run for office. Candidates who sign waivers must still keep financial records. If a candidate signed the waiver but later forms an authorized committed or has expenses, liabilities, or contributions in excess of $250, that waiver is void and regular campaign finance reports must be filed.

For additional, helpful Information: visit the PA Department of State Campaign Finance Information Page

All campaign finance filings are public information and are available for inspection by the public in our offices at 450 E Market Street in Kittanning during normal business hours - 8AM – 4:30PM Monday thru Friday.



Campaign Finance Report (DSEB-502)

This form is for the use of candidates, political committees and contributing lobbyists that are required to disclose contributions and expenditures. (instructions are with the form)

Campaign Finance Statement (DSEB-503) 

You may file this statement instead of a full report when the amount of contributions (including in-kind contributions) received, the amount of money expended, and the liabilities incurred each did not exceed $250.00 during the reporting period. (instructions are with the form)

24-Hour Reporting Form

Section 1628 of the Campaign Finance Reporting Law requires that any candidate or political committee authorized by a candidate and created solely for the purpose of influencing an election on behalf of that candidate shall report the late contributions. This is true if they receive any contribution or pledge of five hundred dollars ($500) or more after the final pre-primary/pre-election report has been completed. This must happen within 24 hours of receipt of the contribution. These contributions must be reported through and including the day of the primary/election. State-level candidates will make this report through the PA Department of State. Local and county-level candidates may file this report in person at our office or by overnight mail, fax at 724-548-3714 or e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Permission to file reports by fax or e-mail applies only to the 24-hour report late contribution report and does not remove the obligation to also report those contributions on the appropriate post-primary/post-election expense report filing. Please contact our office if you have any questions about 24-hour reports.


There are state-mandated forms for registration of a political committee and for a candidate to use to authorize a political committee to act on his or her behalf.

A committee may decide to terminate provided it has a zero balance with no funds, liabilities, or debts remaining. This would close the committee and, after the final report is filed, the requirement for annual reports would be ended. Please contact our office if you have questions about this.

Political Committee Registration Statement (DSEB-500) 

Use this form to register a new political committee.  You may also use it to amend the original registration when the committee appoints a new chairperson or treasurer, or changes any other required information. 

Authorization for a Political Committee to Receive Funds on Behalf of a Candidate (DSEB-501)

The Pennsylvania Election Code provides that no treasurer of a political committee shall receive any money on behalf of a candidate until such political committee has been authorized in writing by the candidate on a form designed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. (further instructions available with form)



Political advertising such as signs, mailers, ads, handouts, flyers, etc. must contain a disclaimer that states who paid for them. This could be the candidate himself or herself, or a committee.

If payment was made by a candidate's authorized political committee or their agents, the advertisement shall clearly and conspicuously state that the communication has been authorized (25 P.S. § 3258(a)(1-2)).

Any person, firm or corporation, political committee or party or member thereof, violating any of the provisions of this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or to undergo an imprisonment of not less than one (1) month nor more than two (2) years, or both, in the discretion of the court. (25 P.S. § 3258(a)(3))

The requirements . . . do not apply to bumper stickers, pins, buttons, pens and similar small items upon which the statement cannot be conveniently printed (4 Pa. Code § 181.1(b)).       

Poll Watchers
Each candidate may appoint two watchers for each election district in which such candidate is on the ballot. Each watcher must be a qualified registered elector of the county in which the election district for which the watcher was appointed is located. Each authorized watcher shall be provided with a certificate from the County Board of Elections, stating his/her name and the name of the candidate (s)he represents.

Certificates for candidates' authorized watchers must be requested from the Armstrong County Election Office. Candidates are asked to request the certificates for their authorized watchers no later than the Friday before a Primary or Election. For more information, see 25 P.S. § 2687 or contact the Election Office.

The following are permitted to be in the polling place:

  1. Voters in the act of voting or waiting to vote
  2. Election Officials including the District Election Board (Judge of Election, Inspectors, Clerks, etc.) and County or State Election Officials or persons authorized by them such as voting equipment repair persons, etc.
  3. People rendering assistance to voters who need assistance in order to vote
  4. Watchers with Certificates and Overseers (if any)

Candidates may not be inside a polling place at any time unless they have a Watcher’s Certificate or they are in the act of voting or waiting to vote. The only exception to this is that Judges of Election and Inspectors of Election may serve in the polling place when they are on the ballot to run for election or re-election to office as Judge or Inspector of Election, provided they are not on the ballot for any other public office.

No person may actively support or oppose any candidate for office or question on the ballot while inside a polling place or within ten feet of the entrance to the poll.

Voters may quietly wear election insignia (campaign shirts, hats, buttons, etc.) or carry related campaign materials while in the act of voting or waiting to vote. They must not actively campaign in any way while doing this. NO ONE ELSE may wear or bring partisan or campaign items into the polling place (or within 10 feet of the entrance to a polling place) at any time while an election is in progress.