§ 103.095 Minor political parties.
Overview of Statute
This statute governs the creation of minor political parties. Groups of citizens can create political parties by filing a certificate with the name of their organization, the names and addresses of its officers, and a uniform statewide voter registration application for each of its current officers and members of its executive committee, along with a copy of its constitution, bylaws, and rules and regulations.
The statute then provides an overview of how voters registered in minor political parties are allowed to participate in the business of the party. Further, the executive committee is required to elect a chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer.
Once the filing is approved, the voter registration applications submitted by the party can be processed. The party has to notify the department of any changes in the filing certificate within 5 days.
It is the responsibility of the Division of Elections to adopt rules to prescribe how the minor political parties can have their filings with the Department of State canceled. The statute then goes on to provide an overview of what the rules must include.
Please note that these requirements are retroactive for any minor political party registered with the department on July 1, 2011, and must be complied with within 180 days after the minor political party receives notice of the requirement. If the party does not comply, their registration will be cancelled.
(1) Any group of citizens organized for the general purposes of electing to office qualified persons and determining public issues under the democratic processes of the United States may become a minor political party of this state by filing with the department a certificate showing the name of the organization, the names and addresses of its current officers, including the members of its executive committee, accompanied by a completed uniform statewide voter registration application as specified in s. 97.052 for each of its current officers and members of its executive committee which reflect their affiliation with the proposed minor political party, and a copy of its constitution, bylaws, and rules and regulations.
(2) Each elector registered to vote in the minor political party in which he or she has so designated has a fundamental right to fully and meaningfully participate in the business and affairs of the minor political party without any monetary encumbrance. The constitution, bylaws, rules, regulations, or other equivalent documents must reflect this fundamental right and must provide for and contain reasonable provisions that, at a minimum, prescribe procedures to: prescribe its membership; conduct its meetings according to generally accepted parliamentary practices; timely notify its members as to the time, date, and place of all of its meetings; timely publish notice on its public and functioning website as to the time, date, and place of all of its meetings; elect its officers; remove its officers; make party nominations when required by law; conduct campaigns for party nominees; raise and expend party funds; select delegates to its national convention, if applicable; select presidential electors, if applicable; and alter or amend all of its governing documents.
(3) The members of the executive committee must elect a chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer, all of whom shall be members of the minor political party, and no member may hold more than one office, except that one person may hold the offices of secretary and treasurer.
(4) Upon approval of the minor political party’s filing, the department shall process the voter registration applications submitted by the minor political party’s officers and members of its executive committee. It shall be the duty of the minor political party to notify the department of any changes in the filing certificate within 5 days after such changes.
(5) The Division of Elections shall adopt rules to prescribe the manner in which political parties, including minor political parties, may have their filings with the Department of State canceled. Such rules shall, at a minimum, provide for:
(a) Notice, which must contain the facts and conduct that warrant the intended action, including, but not limited to, the failure to have any voters registered in the party, the failure to notify the department of replacement officers, the failure to file campaign finance reports, the failure to adopt and file with the department all governing documents containing the provisions specified in subsection (2), and limited activity.
(b) Adequate opportunity to respond.
(c) Appeal of the decision to the Florida Elections Commission. Such appeals are exempt from the confidentiality provisions of s. 106.25.
(6) The requirements of this section are retroactive for any minor political party registered with the department on July 1, 2011, and must be complied with within 180 days after the department provides notice to the minor political party of the requirements contained in this section. Failure of the minor political party to comply with the requirements within 180 days after receipt of the notice shall automatically result in the cancellation of the minor political party’s registration.
s. 46, ch. 2011-40.
- Political Parties
Florida is a closed primary state. The opportunity to participate in party primaries is limited to voting only among one’s party of registration candidates in primaries. This means that, unless a minor party has multiple candidates seeking the same office, minor party registrants are excluded from participating in primaries for partisan offices.
1. Definition for Department
The Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(7).
2. Definition for Minor Political Party
Any group as specified in s. 103.095 which on January 1 preceding a primary election does not have registered as members 5 percent of the total registered electors of the state. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(19).
3. Definition for Issue
A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(13).
4. Definition for 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).
5. Definition for 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).
6. Definition for Division
The Division of Elections of the Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(8).
7. Definition for Election
Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).
Regulations & Guidance
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 69, Generally