WHAT IS A CANDIDATE?
Florida defines a candidate as any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:
- Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petition process.
- Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
- Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or consents for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bring about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
- Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
- Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate's oath as required by law.
This definition does not include an individual seeking a publicly elected position for a political party executive committee. (Sections 97.021(6) and 106.011(3), F.S.)
No matter which office you choose to seek, you must file as a candidate with the proper filing office prior to making any expenditures or accepting any contributions. The filing officer is determined by which office you seek.
The filing officer for state, multi-county district, and judicial offices (except county court judge) is the Division of Elections.
The filing officer for county court judge, countywide and district offices (except multi-county offices) is the Supervisor of Elections.
The filing officer for municipal offices is the Municipal Clerk.
HOW TO BECOME A CANDIDATE?
For those wishing to become a candidate, they must meet the following criteria:
- Meet residency and registration requirements in accordance with Florida Statutes;
- Judicial candidates must be a member of the Florida Bar for the preceding five years;
- Are not a registered member of another political party other than the one under which they are filing/qualifying; and
- Hasn't been a candidate for nomination for any other political party for a period of six months preceding the general election.
As a candidate, it is your responsibility to know and follow all relevant Florida election laws and local charters that might have a bearing on your filing or your qualifications to run for office. The Florida Division of Elections is a great resource for Candidates and Committees.
- County Commission candidates must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of being elected to office; School Board candidates must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of qualifying;
- County Judges must reside in the county at the time of assuming office;
- County Constitutional Officers must reside in the county at the time of assuming office; and
- If required, one's current position or office must be resigned under the "resign to run" law by the appropriate deadlines (99.012(3) Florida Statutes).
By Florida law, campaigns, committees, and electioneering communications organizations are required to disclose detailed financial records of campaign contributions and expenditures, also known as "Campaign Finance Reports". Chapter 106, Florida Statutes, regulates campaign financing for all candidates, including judicial candidates, political committees, electioneering communication organizations, affiliated party committees, and political parties. It does not regulate campaign financing for candidates for federal office.
Campaign Finance Reports are required even if there has been no activity during the reporting period. In those cases, you are required to file a Waiver of Report. Reports must be filed on or before the due date. Fines for late filing of reports are automatic and must be paid from personal rather than campaign funds. It is your responsibility to ensure that campaign reports are accurate, complete and comply with all laws and regulations regarding campaign finance.
The laws governing campaign finance reporting and campaign financing limitations are complex. For more detail, please refer to Chapter 106, Florida Statutes, and the Candidate and Committee handbooks.
If you would like to designate poll watchers for an election, you must complete the Poll Watcher Designation Form DS-DE 125 (PDF) (Link to forms in Excel) and return it via email to email@example.com, mail or in person, so that it is in our office by the deadline.
Go to our Precinct Finder page to see a list of all of our precincts, and then click on individual precinct locations to find statistics, addresses and photos for each precinct.
NO SOLICITATION ZONE
Per Florida Statute Section 102.031(4)(a) No person, political committee, or other group or organization may solicit voters inside the polling place or within 150 feet of a secure ballot intake station or the entrance to any polling place, a polling room where the polling place is also a polling room, an early voting site, or an office of the supervisor where vote-by-mail ballots are requested and printed on demand for the convenience of electors who appear in person to request them.
The information provided is not intended to provide legal advice and is for general guidance only. Please note that it is not within the purview of this office to determine whether a candidate meets the requirements for holding office. Individuals with questions concerning their own or other candidate qualifications or related matters should seek legal counsel. Candidates bear full responsibility to make their own determinations as to all legal standards, duties and factual material contained therein.