How can I run for Office?
An up-to-date copy of the handout from the 2016 candidate workshop is HERE
2016 General Election Campaign Free Zones: HERE
What is a Candidate?
A candidate is defined in 97.021(5), Florida Statues, 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 petitioning process;
- Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate;
- 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;
- Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository; or
- Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
However, this definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.
Who can be a Candidate?
- Anyone who is a registered voter in Seminole County;
- Anyone who is not a registered member of another political party other than the one under which they are filing/qualifying;
- Anyone who has not been a candidate for nomination for any other political party for a period of 365 days before the beginning of qualifying preceding the general election. The 2015 deadline is June 21, 2015.
- County Commission candidates must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of assuming office;
- School Board candidates must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of qualifying;
- If required, one’s current position or office must be resigned under the “resign to run” law ten (10) days prior to the first day of qualifying 99.012(3), Florida Statutes.
When do I announce my candidacy?
- Candidacy may be announced at any time;
- Must file Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE 9) with the Supervisor of Elections office before any contributions are accepted or expenditures are made; or signatures are obtained on a candidate petition. (106.021, Florida Statutes);
- Must file a Statement of Candidate (Form DS-DE 84) within ten (10) days of filing the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (106.023, Florida Statutes). The Statement of Candidate is provided by the Supervisor of Elections;
Is it possible to run for a different office after I become a candidate?
Yes, permitted under 106.021(1)(a), Florida Statutes, you may change your mind and run for a different office after becoming a candidate, providing that you:
- File a new Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository, designating the new office;
- Within 15 days of the new appointment, notify, in writing, all contributors and offer to return their contributions pro rata. The Request for Return of Contributions (Form DS-DE 86) may be used for such purpose;
- If, after 30 days from this notice, the contributor has not requested his contribution to be returned, you may use the funds in the campaign for your newly designated office.
When and where do I file my qualifying papers?
Qualifying papers will be accepted at the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections office any time during the qualifying period. If you wish to qualify by mail, you may forward your completed papers to:
HONORABLE MICHAEL ERTEL
Supervisor of Elections
P.O. Box 1479
Sanford, FL 32772-1479
What must I file when I qualify?
Law requires that a candidate file the following:
- Loyalty Oath/Oath of Candidate/Statement of Party (Candidates with party affiliation) (Form DS-DE 24)
- Loyalty Oath/Oath of Candidate (Write-in Candidates)(Form DS-DE 24A)
- Loyalty Oath/Oath of Candidate (Candidates with no party affiliation) (Form DS-DE 24B)
- Loyalty Oath/Oath of Candidate (Non-Partisan Office) (Form DS-DE 25)
- Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interest 2015 (CE Form 6)
- Statement of Financial Interests 2015 (Special district offices only)(CE Form 1)
- Qualifying Fee (check drawn on campaign account)
- Petition Certification Notice
- Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE 9) (However, you may have already filed this form with the Supervisor of Elections) and Statement of Candidate within ten (10) days of appointment of campaign treasurer.
If my qualifying papers are filed with an error or omission, will I be considered disqualified?
Pursuant to 99.061(7), Florida Statutes, if the filing officer receives qualifying papers that do not include all items required, the filing officer shall make a reasonable effort to notify the candidate of the missing or incomplete items and shall inform the candidate that all required items must be received by the close of qualifying.
After filing as a candidate, may I later change the way my name is to appear on the ballot?
Pursuant to 99.061(7)(b), Florida Statutes, a candidate’s name as it is to appear on the ballot may not be changed after the end of qualifying.
What are the amounts of the qualifying fees for county offices?
The qualifying fee is comprised as follows:
- Filing Fee 3%
- Party Assessment 2%
- Election Assessment 1%
The 1% election assessment is deposited into the Elections Commission Trust Fund.
Nonpartisan candidates pay 4%. Fee breakdown is the same as partisan candidates less the 2% party assessment.
May I get my qualifying fee back if I decide not to run?
Yes, 99.092(1), Florida Statutes, provides for reimbursement of the qualifying fee provided that you withdraw your candidacy before the qualifying period ends.
Is there an alternative method to qualify as a candidate?
Pursuant to 99.095, Florida Statutes, a person seeking to qualify for nomination to any office may qualify to have their name placed on the ballot by means of the petitioning process.
- The Supervisor of Elections will provide you with the proper format (Form DS-DE 104) for you to seek a number of signatures equal to at least one percent (1%) of the total number of Seminole County registered voters. (The registration statistics used in computing the requisite number of signatures are those for the 2014 General Election).
- If you are qualifying by the petition process, the number of valid signatures you must secure is 2,661.
- The signed petitions for federal, judicial, state attorney and public defender candidates must be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections prior to 12:00 Noon of the 28th day preceding the first day of qualifying, for verification.
- The signed petitions for statewide, multi-county, county and district candidates must be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections prior to 12:00 Noon on of the 28th day preceding the first day of qualifying, for verification.
- The Supervisor of Elections will notify you, in writing, whether the required number of signatures has been obtained prior to the first day of qualifying.
- During the qualifying period you will submit the petition certification notice, along with your qualifying papers, to the Supervisor of Elections.
- You will not be required to pay the qualifying fee or party assessment and will be entitled to have your name printed on the ballot.
- Additionally, you may file an Undue Burden Oath with the Supervisor of Elections exempting you from paying the ten cents ($.10) per name checked. This oath must be filed with the Supervisor of Elections at the time petitions are submitted for verification.
Note: If the candidate is running for an office which will be grouped on the ballot with two or more similar offices to be filled at the same election and the petition does not indicate the group or district office for which they are running, the signatures obtained on the petition will not be counted.
Must I be registered to vote with a party affiliation in order to have my name placed on the ballot as a candidate for a county office?
- No, the Florida Statutes provide in Chapter 99.0955(1), that any “registered elector” may have their name placed on the general election ballot as a no party affiliation candidate.
- You may run as a no party affiliation candidate provided that you pay the qualifying fee or submit a petition to the Supervisor of Elections with the required number of voters’ signatures.
Do you have information about running for city offices?
- Candidates who wish to run for city-level offices should contact their city clerk, who is the qualifying officer for mayor, city commission or city council. More information about each city’s elections can be found at the following links: Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, Winter Springs.