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Florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.021 Elector to vote the primary ballot of the political party in which he or she is registered.

Overview of Statute

This statute states that qualified voters are entitled to vote in the primary election of the party he or she designated in his or her registration. Voters are not allowed to vote in primaries for other parties.

Statute

In a primary election a qualified elector is entitled to vote the official primary election ballot of the political party designated in the elector’s registration, and no other. It is unlawful for any elector to vote in a primary for any candidate running for nomination from a party other than that in which such elector is registered.

History:

s. 41, ch. 6469, 1913; RGS 345; CGL 402; s. 5, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 21, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 13, ch. 77-175; s. 552, ch. 95-147.

Annotation: April 1, 2016 1:13 pm

Florida is generally a closed primary state. However, the 1998 Constitution Revision Commission proposed and the voters adopted a provision which provides that if all candidates for an office are from the same party and there is no general election opposition, all voters, regardless of party affiliation, are allowed to vote for that office in the primary election. These races are called universal primary contests.

The Division of Elections issued an advisory opinion (DE 00-06) that if a write-in candidate has qualified, that constitutes general election opposition and the primary will be closed.

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. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(29).

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. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(2).

Definition [Elector]

“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(15).

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).

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. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(6).

Cases

florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Clingman v. Beaver

Citation: 544 U.S. 581

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2005

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/cd04f083373267dfcc9a76f9568b11b5

Case Summary: Clingman v. Beaver held that Oklahoma's semi-closed primary system (which allowed members of the specified party and Independents to vote) minimally burdened associational rights, and that minimal burden was justified by the state's regulatory interests.

Case Name: Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut

Citation: 479 U.S. 208

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 1986

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/e59eaf3c569fc305d54bc0ec33399669?query=Tashjia[...]

Case Summary: Tashjian v. Republican Party held that the Connecticut law mandating closed primaries substantially interfered with the Republican Party's 1st Amendment right to define its associational boundaries, and that the state's interests were not enough to overcome the burden on the Party.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 75, Members-Qualification to participate in party primaries