Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

Santa Monica’s campaign season is in full swing as endorsements are already being made. But there is still time for interested residents to enter an open race as a write-in candidate.

There are currently 38 candidates running for the various seats that are available on Santa Monica City Council, local Rent Control Board, or the school and college district boards. The deadline to submit paperwork to appear on the ballot for the local races passed in August, but the city clerk’s office announced the write-in period will open Tuesday, Sept. 8, and remain open until Tuesday, Oct. 20, for those who are interested in running for office this November.

Write-in candidates are afforded the same fundraising and campaign opportunities enjoyed by those who submitted their signatures and election paperwork prior to last month’s deadline. The difference is, the city clerk’s office states, write-in candidates’ names will not be on the ballot and they will not have a candidate statement if they qualify. In order to be counted, the voter has to write in the candidate’s name on the ballot.

The clerk’s office added the write-in process is the same as the regular nomination process, meaning candidates must submit signatures from registered residents in the jurisdiction they are running.

Santa Monica’s municipal code requires candidates to gather no less than 100 voter signatures as part of their nomination but under a new twenty-first supplement to Santa Monica’s local emergency declaration, candidates now have to gather a reduced number of 30 original signatures, which officials hope reduce the risks posed by personal contacts in the COVID-19 environment.

“Whether you are a candidate collecting signatures or a Santa Monica voter signing on to support a candidate, please be sure to take necessary COVID-19 prevention measures,” city officials stated in a news release, which mentioned candidates should stay at home when experiencing any cold-like symptoms; wear a face covering; wash your hands frequently; properly sanitize surfaces, pens and clipboards; and maintain six feet of physical distance whenever possible.

Candidates should also use virtual social gatherings or campaign events in lieu of in-person gatherings, according to election officials, who said more information is available online at smvote.org.

brennon@smdp.com