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§ 99.061 Method of qualifying for nomination or election to federal, state, county, or district office.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs how people qualify for nomination or election to various levels of elected office. People seeking to qualify for nomination or election to a federal, state, or multicounty district office must file qualification papers and pay the qualifying fee to the Department of State. Alternatively, they can qualify by the petition process with the Department of State. The statute also outlines the procedures necessary to qualify for other offices, as well as the requirements needed to qualify as a write-in candidate. Further, all candidates must file public disclosures of financial interests, and by the end of the qualifying period, the filing officer must receive: the filing fee, the candidate’s oath, the statement of political party affiliation, the form to appoint a treasurer and depository, and the public disclosure of financial interests.

Statute

(1) The provisions of any special act to the contrary notwithstanding, each person seeking to qualify for nomination or election to a federal, state, or multicounty district office, other than election to a judicial office as defined in chapter 105 or the office of school board member, shall file his or her qualification papers with, and pay the qualifying fee, which shall consist of the filing fee and election assessment, and party assessment, if any has been levied, to, the Department of State, or qualify by the petition process pursuant to s. 99.095 with the Department of State, at any time after noon of the 1st day for qualifying, which shall be as follows: the 120th day prior to the primary election, but not later than noon of the 116th day prior to the date of the primary election, for persons seeking to qualify for nomination or election to federal office or to the office of the state attorney or the public defender; and noon of the 71st day prior to the primary election, but not later than noon of the 67th day prior to the date of the primary election, for persons seeking to qualify for nomination or election to a state or multicounty district office, other than the office of the state attorney or the public defender.

(2) The provisions of any special act to the contrary notwithstanding, each person seeking to qualify for nomination or election to a county office, or district office not covered by subsection (1), shall file his or her qualification papers with, and pay the qualifying fee, which shall consist of the filing fee and election assessment, and party assessment, if any has been levied, to, the supervisor of elections of the county, or shall qualify by the petition process pursuant to s. 99.095 with the supervisor of elections, at any time after noon of the 1st day for qualifying, which shall be the 71st day prior to the primary election, but not later than noon of the 67th day prior to the date of the primary election. Within 30 days after the closing of qualifying time, the supervisor of elections shall remit to the secretary of the state executive committee of the political party to which the candidate belongs the amount of the filing fee, two-thirds of which shall be used to promote the candidacy of candidates for county offices and the candidacy of members of the Legislature.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of any special act to the contrary, each person seeking to qualify for election to a special district office shall qualify between noon of the 71st day prior to the primary election and noon of the 67th day prior to the date of the primary election. Candidates for single-county special districts shall qualify with the supervisor of elections in the county in which the district is located. If the district is a multicounty district, candidates shall qualify with the Department of State. All special district candidates shall qualify by paying a filing fee of $25 or qualify by the petition process pursuant to s. 99.095. Notwithstanding s. 106.021, a candidate who does not collect contributions and whose only expense is the filing fee or signature verification fee is not required to appoint a campaign treasurer or designate a primary campaign depository.
(4)
(a) Each person seeking to qualify for election to office as a write-in candidate shall file his or her qualification papers with the respective qualifying officer at any time after noon of the 1st day for qualifying, but not later than noon of the last day of the qualifying period for the office sought.
(b) Any person who is seeking election as a write-in candidate shall not be required to pay a filing fee, election assessment, or party assessment. A write-in candidate is not entitled to have his or her name printed on any ballot; however, space for the write-in candidate’s name to be written in must be provided on the general election ballot. A person may not qualify as a write-in candidate if the person has also otherwise qualified for nomination or election to such office.
(5) At the time of qualifying for office, each candidate for a constitutional office shall file a full and public disclosure of financial interests pursuant to s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, which must be verified under oath or affirmation pursuant to s. 92.525(1)(a), and a candidate for any other office, including local elective office, shall file a statement of financial interests pursuant to s.112.3145.
(6) The Department of State shall certify to the supervisor of elections, within 7 days after the closing date for qualifying, the names of all duly qualified candidates for nomination or election who have qualified with the Department of State.

(7)

(a) In order for a candidate to be qualified, the following items must be received by the filing officer by the end of the qualifying period:

1. A properly executed check drawn upon the candidate’s campaign account payable to the person or entity as prescribed by the filing officer in an amount not less than the fee required by s.99.092, unless the candidate obtained the required number of signatures on petitions pursuant to s.99.095. The filing fee for a special district candidate is not required to be drawn upon the candidate’s campaign account. If a candidate’s check is returned by the bank for any reason, the filing officer shall immediately notify the candidate and the candidate shall have until the end of qualifying to pay the fee with a cashier’s check purchased from funds of the campaign account. Failure to pay the fee as provided in this subparagraph shall disqualify the candidate.
2. The candidate’s oath required by s. 99.021, which must contain the name of the candidate as it is to appear on the ballot; the office sought, including the district or group number if applicable; and the signature of the candidate, which must be verified under oath or affirmation pursuant to s.92.525(1)(a).
3. If the office sought is partisan, the written statement of political party affiliation required by s. 99.021(1)(b).
4. The completed form for the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository, as required by s. 106.021.
5. The full and public disclosure or statement of financial interests required by subsection (5). A public officer who has filed the full and public disclosure or statement of financial interests with the Commission on Ethics or the supervisor of elections prior to qualifying for office may file a copy of that disclosure at the time of qualifying.
(b) If the filing officer receives qualifying papers during the qualifying period prescribed in this section which do not include all items as required by paragraph (a) prior to the last day of qualifying, the filing officer shall make a reasonable effort to notify the candidate of the missing or incomplete items and shall inform the candidate that all required items must be received by the close of qualifying. A candidate’s name as it is to appear on the ballot may not be changed after the end of qualifying.
(c) The filing officer performs a ministerial function in reviewing qualifying papers. In determining whether a candidate is qualified, the filing officer shall review the qualifying papers to determine whether all items required by paragraph (a) have been properly filed and whether each item is complete on its face, including whether items that must be verified have been properly verified pursuant to s. 92.525(1)(a). The filing officer may not determine whether the contents of the qualifying papers are accurate.
(8) Notwithstanding the qualifying period prescribed in this section, a qualifying office may accept and hold qualifying papers submitted not earlier than 14 days prior to the beginning of the qualifying period, to be processed and filed during the qualifying period.
(9) Notwithstanding the qualifying period prescribed by this section, in each year in which the Legislature apportions the state, the qualifying period for persons seeking to qualify for nomination or election to federal office shall be between noon of the 71st day prior to the primary election, but not later than noon of the 67th day prior to the primary election.
(10) The Department of State may prescribe by rule requirements for filing papers to qualify as a candidate under this section.
(11) The decision of the filing officer concerning whether a candidate is qualified is exempt from the provisions of chapter 120.

History:

ss. 25, 26, ch. 6469, 1913; RGS 329, 330; CGL 386, 387; ss. 4, 5, ch. 13761, 1929; s. 1, ch. 16990, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 386; ss. 1, chs. 19007, 19008, 19009, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4769(3); s. 1, ch. 20619, 1941; s. 1, ch. 21851, 1943; s. 1, ch. 23006, 1945; s. 1, ch. 24163, 1947; s. 3, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 11, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 4, ch. 29936, 1955; s. 10, ch. 57-1; s. 1, ch. 59-84; s. 1, ch. 61-373 and s. 4, ch. 61-530; s. 1, ch. 63-502; s. 7, ch. 65-378; s. 2, ch. 67-531; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 5, ch. 69-281; s. 1, ch. 69-300; s. 1, ch. 70-42; s. 1, ch. 70-93; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 6, ch. 77-175; s. 1, ch. 78-188; s. 3, ch. 81-105; s. 2, ch. 83-15; s. 2, ch. 83-25; s. 1, ch. 83-251; s. 29, ch. 84-302; s. 1, ch. 86-7; s. 6, ch. 89-338; s. 8, ch. 90-315; s. 32, ch. 91-107; s. 536, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 95-156; s. 9, ch. 99-318; s. 9, ch. 99-326; s. 3, ch. 2001-75; s. 11, ch. 2005-277; s. 51, ch. 2005-278; s. 7, ch. 2005-286; s. 16, ch. 2007-30; s. 14, ch. 2011-40.

Annotation: February 16, 2016 3:10 pm

Prior to 2011, a candidate had 48 hours after notification to provide a cashier’s check if the qualifying fee was returned by the bank. Many times the check was not returned until after ballots were printed. Therefore, if the candidate did not cure the defect, the candidate’s name would still be on the ballot even though he or she had been disqualified. Judicial candidates and school board candidates still have 48 hours from notification to provide a cashier’s check pursuant to s. 105.031(5), F.S.

Definition [Department]

The Department of State.

Definition [Supervisor]

The supervisor of elections.

Definition [Contribution]

(a) A gift, subscription, conveyance, deposit, loan, payment, or distribution of money or anything of value, including contributions in kind having an attributable monetary value in any form, made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication.

(b) A transfer of funds between political committees, between electioneering communications organizations, or between any combination of these groups.

(c) The payment, by a person other than a candidate or political committee, of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a candidate or political committee without charge to the candidate or committee for such services.

(d) The transfer of funds by a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer between a primary depository and a separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit, and the term includes interest earned on such account or certificate.

Notwithstanding the foregoing meanings of “contribution,” the term may not be construed to include services, including, but not limited to, legal and accounting services, provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee or editorial endorsements.

Definition [Public Office]

Any federal, state, county, municipal, school, or other district office or position which is filled by vote of the electors.

Definition [Public Office]

A state, county, municipal, or school or other district office or position that is filled by vote of the electors.

Definition [Filing Officer]

The person before whom a candidate qualifies or the agency or officer with whom a political committee or an electioneering communications organization registers.

Definition [Judicial Office]

Includes the office of:

(a) Justice of the Supreme Court.

(b) Judge of a district court of appeal.

(c) Judge of a circuit court.

(d) County court judge.

A judicial office is a nonpartisan office, and a candidate for election or retention thereto is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for such an office based on party affiliation.

Definition [General Election]

An election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years, for the purpose of filling national, state, county, and district offices and for voting on constitutional amendments not otherwise provided for by law.

Definition [Primary Election]

An election held preceding the general election for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted for in the general election to fill a national, state, county, or district office.

Definition [Campaign Treasurer]

An individual appointed by a candidate or political committee as provided in chapter 106.

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded.

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee.

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election.

Definition [Purchase]

As used in ss. 101.292-101.295, “purchase” means a contract for the purchase, lease, rental, or other acquisition of voting equipment.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.

Cases

florida Cases

Case Name: Browning v. Young

Citation: 993 So.2d 64

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/7c5f3f959d691e96548fdb8a72fea0b8

Case Summary: Browning v. Young held that a possible candidate's financial interest disclosure form complied with Florida's election laws, even though a notary public acknowledged the form without a specified county listed.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 78, Generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 81, Generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 86, Generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 88, Qualification without payment of fees and assessments; petition process

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 89, Generally

  • Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:106, Special state issues