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florida > The Florida Election Code > Nonpartisan Elections

§ 105.041 Form of ballot.

Overview of Statute

This statute provides an overview of how ballots must be formatted for nonpartisan elections. Candidates who appear on the ballot for the primary are to be grouped together on either a separate part of the ballot or on a separate ballot altogether. Candidates who appear on the ballot at the general election, along with justices and judges seeking retention, are to be grouped together on a specified portion of the ballot. While the order of the offices is determined by the Department of State, the names of candidates are listed alphabetically. Justices and judges are listed alphabetically as well. For nonpartisan offices, there can be no mention of party affiliation on the ballot. Finally, there needs to be space on the ballot for write-in candidates for judges and members of school boards, if those candidates have qualified to be write-in candidates. There are no write-in candidates for judge and justice retention.

Statute

(1) BALLOTS.The names of candidates for nonpartisan office which appear on the ballot at the primary election shall be grouped together on a separate portion of the ballot or on a separate ballot. The names of candidates for election to nonpartisan office which appear on the ballot at the general election and the names of justices and judges seeking retention to office shall be grouped together on a separate portion of the general election ballot.

(2) LISTING OF CANDIDATES.The order of nonpartisan offices appearing on the ballot shall be determined by the Department of State. The names of candidates for election to each nonpartisan office shall be listed in alphabetical order. With respect to retention of justices and judges, the question “Shall Justice (or Judge) (name of justice or judge) of the (name of the court) be retained in office?” shall appear on the ballot in alphabetical order and thereafter the words “Yes” and “No.”
(3) REFERENCE TO PARTY AFFILIATION PROHIBITED.No reference to political party affiliation shall appear on any ballot with respect to any nonpartisan office or candidate.
(4) WRITE-IN CANDIDATES.Space shall be made available on the general election ballot for an elector to write in the name of a write-in candidate for judge of a circuit court or county court or member of a school board if a candidate has qualified as a write-in candidate for such office pursuant to s. 105.031. This subsection shall not apply to the offices of justices and judges seeking retention.

History:

s. 4, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 55, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 80-305; s. 18, ch. 81-105; s. 4, ch. 99-326; s. 3, ch. 99-355; s. 2, ch. 2000-361; s. 22, ch. 2005-286; s. 34, ch. 2008-95.

Definition [Department]

The Department of State.

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 [Nonpartisan Office]

An office for which a candidate is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for election or retention in office based on party affiliation.

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 [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.

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Courts and Judges s 292, Nonpartisanship requirement

  • 7/1/2000 Florida Bar News, The 26, The Florida Bar Governmental Affairs Office • “Restriction of Judicial Election Candidates’ Free Speech Rights after Buckley: A Compelling Constitutional Limitation?” 70 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 197