How does a person become a candidate?
To become a candidate official forms must be filed with the appropriate filing officer.
Division of Elections for state, multicounty, district and judicial offices (except county court judges)
Martin County Supervisor of Elections for county offices and county court judge
Municipal Clerk for municipal offices
When can party changes be made for a person seeking office?
A party change must be made at least 365 days before the beginning of qualifying preceding the general election for which the person seeks to qualify. F.S. 99.021(b)(2)
How early can a candidate open a campaign account?
Form DS-DE 9, Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates is the first document that needs to be filed with the filing officer to become a candidate. A candidate may appoint a campaign treasurer and designate a campaign depository at any time prior to the date the candidate qualifies for office.
How many deputy treasurers are allowed?
A candidate for an office voted upon statewide may appoint not more than 15 deputy campaign treasurers and any other candidate or political committee may appoint not more than 3 deputy campaign treasurers. F.S. 106.021(1)(a)
What notification is needed to replace a campaign treasurer?
A candidate can replace his or her campaign treasurer by submitting a reappointment of treasurer (Form DS-DE 9) along with a copy of the resignation of the old treasurer or deputy treasurer.
When are campaign treasurer reports due?
Reports shall be filed on the 10th day following the end of each month. The current reporting schedule can be found under Candidate Information on our web site.
Must an elected official running for a different elected position resign from his/her current elected position before he/she can qualify as a candidate?
Yes. No elected official may qualify as a candidate for another public officer, whether state, district, county, or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other, without resigning from the office he/she presently holds. An elected official must resign at least 10 days before the first day of qualifying to be a candidate. F.S. 99.012
If an elected official running for office, besides the one he/she presently holds, loses his/her bid for election, can he/she rescind the resignation?
No. The resignation that is submitted is irrevocable. F.S. 99.012
What are the two methods by which a candidate can qualify?
A candidate may qualify by paying a qualifying fee or by the petition process.
How does a countywide candidate obtain petitions?
Candidates must have petitions printed. A petition sample can be obtained from the Supervisor of Elections.
When can a candidate start collecting signatures to qualify by the petition process?
Before collecting signatures, candidates must file the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE9) with the filing officer. Each petition must be submitted before noon of the 28th day preceding the first day of the qualifying period for the office sought to the Supervisor of Elections.
What is the qualifying fee to run for a partisan office?
6% of annual salary of the office sought. F.S. 99.092
Campaign Finance Is there a limit a person can contribute to a campaign account?
There is no limit a candidate may contribute to his/her own campaign. However, there is a limit of $1,000 per election for anyone else to contribute to a campaign.
I have collected small contributions of under $10. Must I itemize these and report the name and address of each contributor?
Yes. The law provides no exceptions for the reporting of contribution information, regardless of the size of the contribution. However, occupation is not required for contributions of $100 or less.
My husband and I would like to give the maximum amount ($1,000) each to a candidate. Can we write one check for $2,000 and write a note indicating it is from both of us?
No. Separate checks must be written. Even if the check is drawn on a joint account, the person signing the check is considered the contributor.
May a candidate defray living expenses or draw a salary for himself/herself from the campaign account?
No. Normal living expenses for neither a candidate nor his family may be drawn on his/her campaign account. F.S. 106.1405
A treasurer’s report arrives seven days late. May the candidate pay the assessed fine out of campaign funds?
No. Florida Statute 106.07(8)(a) provides that the fines must be paid from the candidate’s personal funds.
Can a candidate make a contribution to another candidate’s campaign?
Yes, if personal funds are used.
At a fund-raiser, a candidate is given a $200 cash contribution. May the candidate accept this contribution?
No. Florida Statute 106.09 prohibits a person from making or accepting a cash contribution in excess of $50 per election.
A candidate’s campaign treasurer’s report shows a contribution from ABC, Inc. for $500 and lists the occupation as “corporation for profit”. Is this sufficient information for an occupation?
No. Effective January 1, 1998, a treasurer’s report must provide “as clear a description as practicable of the principal type of business conducted by the corporation”. F.S. 106.07(4)(a)1
An attorney volunteers legal services to a candidate’s campaign. Is this a contribution that must be reported?
No. The definition of “contribution” in section 106.011(3)(d), Florida Statutes, specifically excludes legal services provided by persons volunteering their time at no charge.
How much petty cash may a countywide candidate withdraw?
A candidate may withdraw up to $500 per calendar quarter (approximately $40 per week) until after qualifying, then up to $100 per week. Withdrawals must be in amounts less than $30 and may be used only for office supplies, transportation expenses and other necessities. At no time can petty cash be used for the purchase of time, space or any other communications media. F.S. 106.12
A personal friend of a candidate makes an independent expenditure for advertisement without the candidate’s knowledge. Is the friend required to notify the candidate’s opponent of the ad?
No. Florida Statutes contain advance notice provisions for this type of expenditure. However, those provisions are no longer enforceable as being a prior restraint on free speech following a recent order of the U.S. District Court.
May a candidate or committee make a gift of money in lieu of flowers in memory of a deceased person?
Yes, it is not a violation of the Florida Statutes. F.S. 106.08(5)
What is the last day for a candidate to accept contributions?
The cutoff date for accepting contributions is midnight on the Thursday preceding the election. F.S. 106.08(3)(a)
After a successful County Commission Election a candidate retains $2,000 of his campaign funds for transfer to an office account to pay for continuing education seminars and a new computer for his county office. Is this legal?
Yes. Pursuant to Florida Statute 106.141(5), “the office account established pursuant to this subsection shall be separate from any personal or other account. Any funds so transferred by a candidate shall be used only for legitimate expenses in connection with the candidate’s public office”.
A candidate closes out his campaign account and files the proper termination report within 90 days of winning the election. He received a refund check for rent on office space. Can he cash the check and host a party for his supporters?
No. Pursuant to Florida Statute 106.141(1) a candidate is allowed to endorse any refund checks received and dispose of the funds under the permissible methods contained therein. The candidate must file an amended report showing the refund and subsequent disposition.
A candidate has produced yard signs, posters, and bumper stickers. Zealous campaign volunteers have stapled them on telephone poles, stop signs, and in ditches and medians. Is this legal?
No. Pursuant to Chapter 479 of the Florida Statutes, no political campaign advertisements shall be erected, posted, painted, tacked, nailed, or otherwise displayed, placed, or located on or above any state or county road right-of-way.
Is a letter that “the friends of candidate” sends out to solicit help for a campaign a political advertisement that must contain a political disclaimer?
Yes. The letter would be considered a political advertisement requiring a disclaimer. F.S. 106.143
A candidate would like to provide t-shirts with his/her slogan to voters. Must the t-shirts have political disclaimers?
No. The political disclaimer requirements do not apply to clothing or articles to be worn on the body, or novelty items having a retail value of $10 or less. F.S. 106.143
An incumbent candidate’s normal working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. He decides to make a few calls soliciting contributions from his courthouse office, but he does so after 5:00 p.m. Is this allowed?
No. Florida Statute 106.15(4) prohibits a person from making, soliciting or knowingly accepting any political contribution in a building owned by a government entity. However, this does not apply when a government-owned building or any portion thereof is rented for the specific purpose of holding a campaign fund-raiser.
Are raffles permitted?
No. Raffles are considered gambling. Candidates should contact the Attorney General’s office for more information.