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Florida > The Florida Election Code > Nonpartisan Elections

§ 105.035 Petition process of qualifying for certain judicial offices and the office of school board member.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the petition process used to qualify for some judicial offices and the school board. Potential candidates for the office of circuit judge, county court judge, and school board can qualify through the petition process, which means they do not have to pay the qualifying fee.

The Division of Elections is responsible for determining the petition format, and if the candidate is running for an office that is grouped on the ballot, the petition has to indicate which group the candidate is running for.

Candidates for judicial office and the school board have to obtain signatures equivalent to 1% of the total number of registered voters in the district/circuit/county represented by the office. Note that candidates cannot circulate their petitions until they’ve filed the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository.

Candidates for multi-county positions have to file separate petitions for each county. Before noon on the 28th day before the first day of the qualifying period, every petition has to be submitted to the supervisor of elections. The supervisor is responsible for verifying the signatures, and must certify the number by the 7th day before the first qualifying date. The supervisor then has to submit the certification to the Division of Elections. If the right number of signatures is on the certification, the candidate is set to submit the required items and forms to the Division of Elections.

Candidates in single counties must submit their petitions no later than noon of the 28th day before the first qualifying day to the supervisor in their counties. The supervisor has until the 7th day before the first qualifying day to count the signatures. If the right number is on a candidate’s petition, the candidate can then file the items and forms required to have his/her name on the ballot.

Statute

(1) A person seeking to qualify for election to the office of circuit judge or county court judge or the office of school board member may qualify for election to such office by means of the petitioning process prescribed in this section. A person qualifying by this petition process is not required to pay the qualifying fee required by this chapter.

(2) The petition format shall be prescribed by the Division of Elections and shall be used by the candidate to reproduce petitions for circulation. If the candidate is running for an office that will be grouped on the ballot with two or more similar offices to be filled at the same election, the candidate’s petition must indicate, prior to the obtaining of registered electors’ signatures, for which group or district office the candidate is running.
(3) Each candidate for election to a judicial office or the office of school board member shall obtain the signature of a number of qualified electors equal to at least 1 percent of the total number of registered electors of the district, circuit, county, or other geographic entity represented by the office sought as shown by the compilation by the Department of State for the last preceding general election. A separate petition shall be circulated for each candidate availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section. Signatures may not be obtained until the candidate has filed the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository pursuant to s. 106.021.
(4)
(a) Each candidate seeking to qualify for election to the office of circuit judge or the office of school board member from a multicounty school district pursuant to this section shall file a separate petition from each county from which signatures are sought. Each petition shall be submitted, prior to noon of the 28th day preceding the first day of the qualifying period for the office sought, to the supervisor of elections of the county for which such petition was circulated. Each supervisor of elections to whom a petition is submitted shall check the signatures on the petition to verify their status as electors of that county and of the geographic area represented by the office sought. No later than the 7th day before the first date for qualifying, the supervisor shall certify the number shown as registered electors and submit such certification to the Division of Elections. The division shall determine whether the required number of signatures has been obtained for the name of the candidate to be placed on the ballot and shall notify the candidate. If the required number of signatures has been obtained, the candidate shall, during the time prescribed for qualifying for office, submit a copy of such notice and file his or her qualifying papers and oath prescribed in s. 105.031 with the Division of Elections. Upon receipt of the copy of such notice and qualifying papers, the division shall certify the name of the candidate to the appropriate supervisor or supervisors of elections as having qualified for the office sought.
(b) Each candidate seeking to qualify for election to the office of county court judge or the office of school board member from a single county school district pursuant to this section shall submit his or her petition, prior to noon of the 28th day preceding the first day of the qualifying period for the office sought, to the supervisor of elections of the county for which such petition was circulated. The supervisor shall check the signatures on the petition to verify their status as electors of the county and of the geographic area represented by the office sought. No later than the 7th day before the first date for qualifying, the supervisor shall determine whether the required number of signatures has been obtained for the name of the candidate to be placed on the ballot and shall notify the candidate. If the required number of signatures has been obtained, the candidate shall, during the time prescribed for qualifying for office, submit a copy of such notice and file his or her qualifying papers and oath prescribed in s. 105.031 with the qualifying officer. Upon receipt of the copy of such notice and qualifying papers, such candidate shall be entitled to have his or her name printed on the ballot.

History:

s. 37, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 89-152; s. 35, ch. 89-338; s. 23, ch. 90-315; s. 631, ch. 95-147; s. 6, ch. 99-318; s. 3, ch. 99-326; s. 66, ch. 2005-277.

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. Fla. Stat. § 105.011(2).

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. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(16).

Definition [Campaign Treasurer]

An individual appointed by a candidate or political committee as provided in chapter 106. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(2).

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 [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. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

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: 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

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