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florida > The Florida Election Code > Nonpartisan Elections

§ 105.031 Qualification; filing fee; candidate’s oath; items required to be filed.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the time of qualifying, filing in groups or districts, the qualifying fee, the candidate’s oath, and the items required to be filed for nonpartisan candidates. Nonpartisan candidates for multi-county offices qualify with the Division of Elections, while nonpartisan candidates for county-wide or less than county-wide offices qualify with the supervisor of elections. Candidates for judicial office qualify with the Division of Elections, and candidates for the office of county court judge qualify with the supervisor of elections in their counties. Candidates for judicial office must qualify between noon of the 120th day and noon of the 116th day before the primary, while candidates for school board must qualify between noon on the 71st day and noon on the 67th day before the primary. All candidates must file using forms provided by the Division of Elections, and all potential candidates who qualify in the proper timeframe are entitled to have their names on the ballot.

All candidates for judicial office or school board must pay a qualifying fee, which is comprised of a filing fee and an election assessment. The filing fee is 3% of the annual salary of the office, while the assessment fee is 1% of the annual salary of the office. Candidates can also qualify by the petition process to waive the fee. All filing fees and election assessments must be transferred to the Election Commission Trust Fund. To calculate the annual salary of the office for the filing fee, the Division of Elections and supervisors of election multiply the monthly salary of the office by twelve.

The statute then goes on to lay out the candidate’s oath, as well as the items required to qualify for the election. The items include: the filing fee, the oath, the loyalty oath, the form to appoint a campaign treasurer and to designate a campaign depository, and full disclosure of financial interests. Additionally judicial candidates are required to complete the Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office.

Statute

(1) TIME OF QUALIFYING.Except for candidates for judicial office, nonpartisan candidates for multicounty office shall qualify with the Division of Elections of the Department of State and nonpartisan candidates for countywide or less than countywide office shall qualify with the supervisor of elections. Candidates for judicial office other than the office of county court judge shall qualify with the Division of Elections of the Department of State, and candidates for the office of county court judge shall qualify with the supervisor of elections of the county. Candidates for judicial office shall qualify no earlier than noon of the 120th day, and no later than noon of the 116th day, before the primary election. Candidates for the office of school board member shall qualify no earlier than noon of the 71st day, and no later than noon of the 67th day, before the primary election. Filing shall be on forms provided for that purpose by the Division of Elections and furnished by the appropriate qualifying officer. Any person other than a write-in candidate who qualifies within the time prescribed in this subsection shall be entitled to have his or her name printed on the ballot.

(2) FILING IN GROUPS OR DISTRICTS.Candidates shall qualify in groups or districts where multiple offices are to be filled.
(3) QUALIFYING FEE.Each candidate qualifying for election to a judicial office or the office of school board member, except write-in judicial or school board candidates, shall, during the time for qualifying, pay to the officer with whom he or she qualifies a qualifying fee, which shall consist of a filing fee and an election assessment, or qualify by the petition process. The amount of the filing fee is 3 percent of the annual salary of the office sought. The amount of the election assessment is 1 percent of the annual salary of the office sought. The Department of State shall transfer all filing fees to the Department of Legal Affairs for deposit in the Elections Commission Trust Fund. The supervisor of elections shall forward all filing fees to the Elections Commission Trust Fund. The election assessment shall be deposited into the Elections Commission Trust Fund. The annual salary of the office for purposes of computing the qualifying fee shall be computed by multiplying 12 times the monthly salary authorized for such office as of July 1 immediately preceding the first day of qualifying. This subsection does not apply to candidates qualifying for retention to judicial office.

(4) CANDIDATE’S OATH.

(a) All candidates for the office of school board member shall subscribe to the oath as prescribed in s. 99.021.

(b) All candidates for judicial office shall subscribe to an oath or affirmation in writing to be filed with the appropriate qualifying officer upon qualifying. A printed copy of the oath or affirmation shall be furnished to the candidate by the qualifying officer and shall be in substantially the following form:

State of Florida

County of  

Before me, an officer authorized to administer oaths, personally appeared   (please print name as you wish it to appear on the ballot)  , to me well known, who, being sworn, says he or she: is a candidate for the judicial office of  ; that his or her legal residence is   County, Florida; that he or she is a qualified elector of the state and of the territorial jurisdiction of the court to which he or she seeks election; that he or she is qualified under the constitution and laws of Florida to hold the judicial office to which he or she desires to be elected or in which he or she desires to be retained; that he or she has qualified for no other public office in the state, the term of which office or any part thereof runs concurrent to the office he or she seeks; that he or she has resigned from any office which he or she is required to resign pursuant to s. 99.012, Florida Statutes; and that he or she will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida.

       (Signature of candidate)  

       (Address)  

Sworn to and subscribed before me this   day of  ,   (year)  , at   County, Florida.

  (Signature and title of officer administering oath)  

(5) ITEMS REQUIRED TO BE FILED.

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

1. Except for candidates for retention to judicial office, a properly executed check drawn upon the candidate’s campaign account in an amount not less than the fee required by subsection (3) or, in lieu thereof, the copy of the notice of obtaining ballot position pursuant to s. 105.035. 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, the end of qualifying notwithstanding, have 48 hours from the time such notification is received, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, 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 subsection (4), 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, duly acknowledged.
3. The loyalty oath required by s. 876.05, signed by the candidate and duly acknowledged.

4. The completed form for the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository, as required by s. 106.021. In addition, each candidate for judicial office, including an incumbent judge, shall file a statement with the qualifying officer, within 10 days after filing the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository, stating that the candidate has read and understands the requirements of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. Such statement shall be in substantially the following form:

Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office

I,   (name of candidate)  , a judicial candidate, have received, read, and understand the requirements of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.

  (Signature of candidate)  

  (Date)  

5. The full and public disclosure of financial interests required by s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution or the statement of financial interests required by s. 112.3145, whichever is applicable. 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 that 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.
(6) Notwithstanding the qualifying period prescribed in this section, a filing officer 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.

History:

s. 3, ch. 71-49; s. 36, ch. 77-175; s. 1, ch. 78-260; s. 5, ch. 79-365; s. 54, ch. 79-400; s. 17, ch. 81-105; s. 10, ch. 83-251; s. 1, ch. 89-152; s. 34, ch. 89-338; s. 5, ch. 91-107; s. 630, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 95-156; s. 13, ch. 97-13; s. 13, ch. 99-6; s. 2, ch. 99-326; s. 2, ch. 99-355; s. 23, ch. 2002-17; s. 65, ch. 2005-277; s. 21, ch. 2005-286; s. 40, ch. 2007-30; s. 4, ch. 2010-16; s. 51, ch. 2011-40.

Annotation: March 1, 2016 8:59 pm

Candidates for other offices must correct a deficiency in the qualifying check by the end of the qualifying period. See s. 99.061(7)(a),F.S.

Annotation: February 11, 2016 11:48 pm

Nonpartisan school board elections are generally held on the congressional primary day (normally in August); if no one receives at least 50% of the vote the run-off election is held on general election day in November.

Annotation: 11:40 pm

Countywide nonpartisan offices may include county commissioners; whether or not the county commission is nonpartisan is determined by the county charter. There is no statewide mandate that county commissions be partisan or nonpartisan.

Definition [Department]

The Department of State.

Definition [Supervisor]

The supervisor of elections.

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 [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 [Elector]

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

Definition [Division]

The Division of Elections of the Department of State.

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: Jordan v. Robinson

Citation: 39 So.3d 416

Year: 2010

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/e0af9e6ea039e084024f7f6233eefade?query=39%20So[...]

Case Summary: Jordan v, Robinson held that although a candidate had legally changed his name, he was allowed to have his birth name on the primary ballot because he was not attempting to confuse voters by convincing them that he was someone else. Using a birth name was similar to a woman using her maiden name, which is allowed.

Case Name: Levey v. Dijols

Citation: 990 So.2d 688

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/ab40d488b69f90af2d9a7797373b6052

Case Summary: Levey v. Dijols held that although a second place finisher in a primary used her maiden name instead of her married name in her qualifying oath and in the election, her name should have appeared on the ballot in the general election because she was one of the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes.

Case Name: Miller v. Mendez

Citation: 804 So.2d 1243

Year: 2001

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/882ee1064d017bc2d575b2ca549d580e

Case Summary: Miller v. Mendez held that candidates for judicial office were required to meet the eligibility requirements by the beginning date of the term of office, and not at the time of filing the oath.

Out-of-State Cases

Case State: alabama

Case Name: Schurr v. Sanchez-Gronlier

Citation: 937 So.2d 1166

Year: 2006

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/981532010e1634feb0a06fcf102ea92a

Case Summary: Schurr v. Sanchez-Gronlier held that although a trial court judge candidate had not designated a primary campaign depository when he opened his campaign account, the fact that he filed his the required form very quickly after meant that the violation was de minimis, and as such, his name should not have been removed from the ballot even though he violated the campaign depository statute.

Federal Cases

Case Name: Little v. Florida Dept. of State

Citation: 19 F.3d 4

Federal Circuit Court: 11th Circuit Court

Year: 1994

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/7ec2ff6c0b8c68b279e3bf314d631b33?query=19%20F.[...]

Case Summary: Little v. Florida Dept. of State held that the filing fee required to run for office was constitutional, since there was an alternative procedure that allowed candidates to avoid the fee if they met criteria under 105.035. Further, because the fees were deposited in a general account, there was no specific appropriation that the plaintiffs could legitimately object to.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Am. Jur. 2d Judges s 227, Procedure for filling vacancy

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Courts and Judges s 293, Qualification process for candidates

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Courts and Judges s 294, Generally

  • “Top 10 Things You Should Know Before You Run for Public Office” 85-OCT Fla. B.J. 45

  • “Right of married woman to use maiden surname” 67 A.L.R.3d 1266