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florida > The Florida Election Code > Conducting Elections And Ascertaining The Results

§ 102.171 Contest of election to Legislature.

Overview of Statute

This statute states that, in a contest of the election of a member to either house of the Legislature, the jurisdiction to hear the contest is vested in the applicable house, since both houses are the sole judge of the elections of its own members. So, the certification of election to either house can only be contested in the applicable house by a candidate who lost.

Note that this section does not apply to primaries and special primaries that are closed, but that it does apply to open primaries and special primaries.

Statute

The jurisdiction to hear any contest of the election of a member to either house of the Legislature is vested in the applicable house, as each house, pursuant to s. 2, Art. III of the State Constitution, is the sole judge of the qualifications, elections, and returns of its members. Therefore, the certification of election of any person to the office of member of either house of the Legislature may only be contested in the applicable house by an unsuccessful candidate for such office, in accordance with the rules of that house. This section does not apply to any contest of the nomination of any person for the office of member of either house of the Legislature at any primary or special primary election in which only those qualified electors who are registered members of the political party holding such primary election may vote, as provided for in s. 5(b), Art. VI of the State Constitution. This section does apply to any contest of a primary or special primary election for the office of member of either house of the Legislature in which all qualified electors may vote, as provided for in s. 5(b), Art. VI of the State Constitution, and the recipient of the most votes is deemed to be elected according to applicable law.

History:

s. 4, ch. 99-339.

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 [Special Primary Election]

A special nomination election designated by the Governor, called for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted on in a general or special election.

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 [Elector]

“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors.

Definition [Election]

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

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.

Regulations & Guidance

Administrative Decisions

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 135, Generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 194, Generally

  • “The Florida Election Canvassing System” 26 Nova L. Rev. 851

  • “Democracy and Disorder” 68 U. Chi. L. Rev. 695

  • “What’s So Bad About Bush v. Gore? An Essay on Our Unsettled Election” 47 Wayne L. Rev. 953