CANDIDATE QUALIFYING REQUIREMENTS
The next step in the candidate campaign, is to meet the candidate qualifying requirements during the Qualifying Period. The qualifying period differs depending on the office sought.
The Qualifying period for County office and Special District candidates is noon on the 71st day through noon on the 67th day prior to the Primary election (F.S 99.061).
The Qualifying period for County judicial candidates is noon on the 120th day through noon on the 116th day prior to the Primary election (F.S 105.031).
1. File ALL Candidate Qualifying Documents
The following forms can only be filed during the Qualifying Period:
- DS-DE 9 and DS-DE 84
- Judicial candidates are also required to file a DS-DE 83.
- If these documents have already been filed, it is not necessary to resubmit
2. Pay the Qualifying Fee, or Submit the Petition Certificate
Qualifying Fee – the qualifying fee is based on a percentage of the salary for the office sought as of July 1 of the preceding year of the general election (except for special district offices, which have a flat $25.00 qualifying fee). This fee consists of a three percent filing fee, a two percent party fee, and a one percent election assessment. Candidates running with no party affiliation or for nonpartisan offices are not required to pay the party fee. Some municipal offices do not require the election assessment fee. Candidates are required to pay the qualifying fee using a check from the candidate’s campaign account (with the exception of special district candidates who are permitted to pay the fee with a personal or campaign check).
Petition Requirement - a person who seeks to qualify as a candidate for any office who meets the petition requirements is not required to pay the qualifying fee or party assessment fee at the time of qualifying, pursuant to F.S. 99.095.
The number of petitions required is equal to 1% of the total number of registered voters in the geographical area represented by the office sought in the last general election. The number of petitions required for all special district offices is 25. To meet the exact number of valid petitions required, it's often necessary to submit more than the requirement. Solicit for petition signatures early and submit them to the Elections Office as they are collected. After each batch of petitions is processed, a summary batch report will be provided to the candidate by the Candidate Coordinator. The summary batch report is used by the candidate to determine how many additional signatures are required to meet the petition requirement.
- The Candidate Qualifying Petition process is provided for in Florida Administrative Rule 1S-2.045.
- Candidates are responsible for reproducing the petition form: Form DS-DE 104 (English | Spanish)
- Candidates must submit the petitions to the Supervisor of Elections for verification prior to noon of the 28th day preceding the first day of the Qualifying Period.
- Candidates are required to pay a $0.10 per petition signature verification fee. If a candidate cannot pay this fee without imposing an undue burden on the candidate’s resources, an Affidavit of Undue Burden Oath may be filed with the Supervisor of Elections, exempting the candidate from paying the ten cents ($.10) per name verification fee. This oath must be filed with the Supervisor of Elections at the time petitions are submitted for verification.
- Candidates who meet the required number of valid petitions required will be issued a Petition Certificate to submit during the Qualifying Period in lieu of paying the qualifying fee. Candidates who fail to qualify by the petition method will be required to pay the qualifying fee for the office sought in order to obtain ballot position.
Write-in Candidate Qualifying Information:
Write-in candidates, other than those running for President and Vice President, qualify during the same time period as regular candidates. There is no qualifying fee for write-in candidates. If someone qualifies for an office as a write-in candidate, their name does not appear on the ballot, but the notation "Write-in" and a blank line will appear on the General Election ballot beneath all of the other candidates for the office. Per Florida Statute, only write-in votes for qualified candidates are counted. Write-in candidates must reside in the district they seek to represent at the time of qualification.
Qualifying as a Candidate in a “closed” Primary Election
The names of candidates who qualify as a Democrat or Republican will appear on the Primary Election ballot if there are other candidates running for the same office in the same party. The name of the Primary candidate who receives the most votes is placed on the General Election ballot. However, the names of minor party candidates, or candidates with no party affiliation, will appear only on the General Election ballot. If the only candidates who qualify are from the same party, the race will appear on the Primary ballot but all voters will be able to vote on that contest -- this is called a Universal Primary Contest.
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