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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title IX
ELECTORS AND ELECTIONS
Chapter 105
NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS
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CHAPTER 105
CHAPTER 105
NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS
105.011 Definitions.
105.031 Qualification; filing fee; candidate’s oath; items required to be filed.
105.035 Petition process of qualifying for certain judicial offices and the office of school board member.
105.036 Initiative for method of selection for circuit or county court judges; procedures for placement on ballot.
105.041 Form of ballot.
105.051 Determination of election or retention to office.
105.061 Electors qualified to vote.
105.071 Candidates for judicial office; limitations on political activity.
105.08 Campaign contribution and expense; reporting.
105.09 Political activity in behalf of a candidate for judicial office limited.
105.10 Applicability of election code.
105.101 Effect of revision of county court judge selection method.
105.102 Effect of revision of circuit court judge selection method.
105.011 Definitions.
(1) As used in this chapter, the term “judicial office” includes the office of:
(a) Justice of the Supreme Court.
(b) Judge of a district court of appeal.
(c) Judge of a circuit court.
(d) County court judge.
(2) A judicial office is a nonpartisan office, and a candidate for election or retention thereto is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for such an office based on party affiliation.
History.s. 1, ch. 71-49; s. 1, ch. 72-310; s. 36, ch. 77-175.
105.031 Qualification; filing fee; candidate’s oath; items required to be filed.
(1) TIME OF QUALIFYING.Except for candidates for judicial office, nonpartisan candidates for multicounty office shall qualify with the Division of Elections of the Department of State and nonpartisan candidates for countywide or less than countywide office shall qualify with the supervisor of elections. Candidates for judicial office other than the office of county court judge shall qualify with the Division of Elections of the Department of State, and candidates for the office of county court judge shall qualify with the supervisor of elections of the county. Candidates for judicial office shall qualify no earlier than noon of the 120th day, and no later than noon of the 116th day, before the primary election. Candidates for the office of school board member shall qualify no earlier than noon of the 71st day, and no later than noon of the 67th day, before the primary election. Filing shall be on forms provided for that purpose by the Division of Elections and furnished by the appropriate qualifying officer. Any person other than a write-in candidate who qualifies within the time prescribed in this subsection shall be entitled to have his or her name printed on the ballot.
(2) FILING IN GROUPS OR DISTRICTS.Candidates shall qualify in groups or districts where multiple offices are to be filled.
(3) QUALIFYING FEE.Each candidate qualifying for election to a judicial office or the office of school board member, except write-in judicial or school board candidates, shall, during the time for qualifying, pay to the officer with whom he or she qualifies a qualifying fee, which shall consist of a filing fee and an election assessment, or qualify by the petition process. The amount of the filing fee is 3 percent of the annual salary of the office sought. The amount of the election assessment is 1 percent of the annual salary of the office sought. The Department of State shall transfer all filing fees to the Department of Legal Affairs for deposit in the Elections Commission Trust Fund. The supervisor of elections shall forward all filing fees to the Elections Commission Trust Fund. The election assessment shall be deposited into the Elections Commission Trust Fund. The annual salary of the office for purposes of computing the qualifying fee shall be computed by multiplying 12 times the monthly salary authorized for such office as of July 1 immediately preceding the first day of qualifying. This subsection does not apply to candidates qualifying for retention to judicial office.
(4) CANDIDATE’S OATH.
(a) All candidates for the office of school board member shall subscribe to the oath as prescribed in s. 99.021.
(b) All candidates for judicial office shall subscribe to an oath or affirmation in writing to be filed with the appropriate qualifying officer upon qualifying. A printed copy of the oath or affirmation shall be furnished to the candidate by the qualifying officer and shall be in substantially the following form:

State of Florida

County of  

Before me, an officer authorized to administer oaths, personally appeared   (please print name as you wish it to appear on the ballot)  , to me well known, who, being sworn, says he or she: is a candidate for the judicial office of  ; that his or her legal residence is   County, Florida; that he or she is a qualified elector of the state and of the territorial jurisdiction of the court to which he or she seeks election; that he or she is qualified under the constitution and laws of Florida to hold the judicial office to which he or she desires to be elected or in which he or she desires to be retained; that he or she has qualified for no other public office in the state, the term of which office or any part thereof runs concurrent to the office he or she seeks; that he or she has resigned from any office which he or she is required to resign pursuant to s. 99.012, Florida Statutes; and that he or she will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida.

       (Signature of candidate)  

       (Address)  

Sworn to and subscribed before me this   day of  ,   (year)  , at   County, Florida.

  (Signature and title of officer administering oath)  

(5) ITEMS REQUIRED TO BE FILED.
(a) In order for a candidate for judicial office or the office of school board member to be qualified, the following items must be received by the filing officer by the end of the qualifying period:
1. Except for candidates for retention to judicial office, a properly executed check drawn upon the candidate’s campaign account in an amount not less than the fee required by subsection (3) or, in lieu thereof, the copy of the notice of obtaining ballot position pursuant to s. 105.035. If a candidate’s check is returned by the bank for any reason, the filing officer shall immediately notify the candidate and the candidate shall, the end of qualifying notwithstanding, have 48 hours from the time such notification is received, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, to pay the fee with a cashier’s check purchased from funds of the campaign account. Failure to pay the fee as provided in this subparagraph shall disqualify the candidate.
2. The candidate’s oath required by subsection (4), which must contain the name of the candidate as it is to appear on the ballot; the office sought, including the district or group number if applicable; and the signature of the candidate, duly acknowledged.
3. The loyalty oath required by s. 876.05, signed by the candidate and duly acknowledged.
4. The completed form for the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository, as required by s. 106.021. In addition, each candidate for judicial office, including an incumbent judge, shall file a statement with the qualifying officer, within 10 days after filing the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository, stating that the candidate has read and understands the requirements of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. Such statement shall be in substantially the following form:

Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office

I,   (name of candidate)  , a judicial candidate, have received, read, and understand the requirements of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.

  (Signature of candidate)  

  (Date)  

5. The full and public disclosure of financial interests required by s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution or the statement of financial interests required by s. 112.3145, whichever is applicable. A public officer who has filed the full and public disclosure or statement of financial interests with the Commission on Ethics or the supervisor of elections prior to qualifying for office may file a copy of that disclosure at the time of qualifying.
(b) If the filing officer receives qualifying papers that do not include all items as required by paragraph (a) prior to the last day of qualifying, 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. A candidate’s name as it is to appear on the ballot may not be changed after the end of qualifying.
(6) Notwithstanding the qualifying period prescribed in this section, a filing officer may accept and hold qualifying papers submitted not earlier than 14 days prior to the beginning of the qualifying period, to be processed and filed during the qualifying period.
History.s. 3, ch. 71-49; s. 36, ch. 77-175; s. 1, ch. 78-260; s. 5, ch. 79-365; s. 54, ch. 79-400; s. 17, ch. 81-105; s. 10, ch. 83-251; s. 1, ch. 89-152; s. 34, ch. 89-338; s. 5, ch. 91-107; s. 630, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 95-156; s. 13, ch. 97-13; s. 13, ch. 99-6; s. 2, ch. 99-326; s. 2, ch. 99-355; s. 23, ch. 2002-17; s. 65, ch. 2005-277; s. 21, ch. 2005-286; s. 40, ch. 2007-30; s. 4, ch. 2010-16; s. 51, ch. 2011-40.
105.035 Petition process of qualifying for certain judicial offices and the office of school board member.
(1) A person seeking to qualify for election to the office of circuit judge or county court judge or the office of school board member may qualify for election to such office by means of the petitioning process prescribed in this section. A person qualifying by this petition process is not required to pay the qualifying fee required by this chapter.
(2) The petition format shall be prescribed by the Division of Elections and shall be used by the candidate to reproduce petitions for circulation. If the candidate is running for an office that will be grouped on the ballot with two or more similar offices to be filled at the same election, the candidate’s petition must indicate, prior to the obtaining of registered electors’ signatures, for which group or district office the candidate is running.
(3) Each candidate for election to a judicial office or the office of school board member shall obtain the signature of a number of qualified electors equal to at least 1 percent of the total number of registered electors of the district, circuit, county, or other geographic entity represented by the office sought as shown by the compilation by the Department of State for the last preceding general election. A separate petition shall be circulated for each candidate availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section. Signatures may not be obtained until the candidate has filed the appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository pursuant to s. 106.021.
(4)(a) Each candidate seeking to qualify for election to the office of circuit judge or the office of school board member from a multicounty school district pursuant to this section shall file a separate petition from each county from which signatures are sought. Each petition shall be submitted, prior to noon of the 28th day preceding the first day of the qualifying period for the office sought, to the supervisor of elections of the county for which such petition was circulated. Each supervisor of elections to whom a petition is submitted shall check the signatures on the petition to verify their status as electors of that county and of the geographic area represented by the office sought. No later than the 7th day before the first date for qualifying, the supervisor shall certify the number shown as registered electors and submit such certification to the Division of Elections. The division shall determine whether the required number of signatures has been obtained for the name of the candidate to be placed on the ballot and shall notify the candidate. If the required number of signatures has been obtained, the candidate shall, during the time prescribed for qualifying for office, submit a copy of such notice and file his or her qualifying papers and oath prescribed in s. 105.031 with the Division of Elections. Upon receipt of the copy of such notice and qualifying papers, the division shall certify the name of the candidate to the appropriate supervisor or supervisors of elections as having qualified for the office sought.
(b) Each candidate seeking to qualify for election to the office of county court judge or the office of school board member from a single county school district pursuant to this section shall submit his or her petition, prior to noon of the 28th day preceding the first day of the qualifying period for the office sought, to the supervisor of elections of the county for which such petition was circulated. The supervisor shall check the signatures on the petition to verify their status as electors of the county and of the geographic area represented by the office sought. No later than the 7th day before the first date for qualifying, the supervisor shall determine whether the required number of signatures has been obtained for the name of the candidate to be placed on the ballot and shall notify the candidate. If the required number of signatures has been obtained, the candidate shall, during the time prescribed for qualifying for office, submit a copy of such notice and file his or her qualifying papers and oath prescribed in s. 105.031 with the qualifying officer. Upon receipt of the copy of such notice and qualifying papers, such candidate shall be entitled to have his or her name printed on the ballot.
History.s. 37, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 89-152; s. 35, ch. 89-338; s. 23, ch. 90-315; s. 631, ch. 95-147; s. 6, ch. 99-318; s. 3, ch. 99-326; s. 66, ch. 2005-277.
105.036 Initiative for method of selection for circuit or county court judges; procedures for placement on ballot.
(1) Subsequent to the general election in the year 2000, a local option for merit selection and retention or the election of circuit or county court judges may be placed on the ballot for the general election occurring in excess of 90 days from the certification of ballot position by the Secretary of State for circuit court judges or the county supervisor of elections for county court judges. The ballot shall provide for a vote on the method for selection of judges not currently used for filling judicial offices in the county or circuit.
(2) Certification of ballot position for the method of selection of circuit court judges shall be issued when the Secretary of State has received a verification certificate from each supervisor of elections in a circuit indicating that the requisite number of valid signatures of electors in the circuit has been submitted and verified by the supervisor or supervisors of that circuit. Certification of ballot position for the method of selection of county court judges shall be issued when the supervisor of elections in a county indicates that the requisite number of signatures of electors in the county has been submitted to and verified by the supervisor. Each signature shall be dated when made and shall be valid for a period of 2 years following such date, provided all requirements of law are complied with.
(3) The sponsor of an initiative for merit selection and retention or election of circuit or county court judges must register as a political committee pursuant to s. 106.03.
(4) The Secretary of State shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 prescribing the style and requirements of the circuit court and county court forms for collection of signatures.
(5) No later than 5 p.m. 151 days prior to the general election at which the proposed judicial selection initiative is to be voted on, the sponsor shall submit signed and dated forms to the appropriate supervisor of elections for verification as to the number of registered electors whose valid signatures appear thereon. The supervisor shall promptly verify the signatures upon payment of the fee or filing of the undue burden oath required by s. 99.097. Verification must be completed at least 91 days prior to the general election. Upon completion of verification, the supervisor shall execute a certificate indicating the total number of signatures checked and the number of signatures verified as valid and as being of registered electors of the applicable county or circuit. This certificate must be immediately transmitted to the Secretary of State for petitions related to the method of selection of circuit court judges. The supervisor must retain the signature forms for at least 1 year following the election in which the issue appeared on the ballot or until the committee that circulated the petition is no longer seeking to obtain ballot position as determined by the Division of Elections for circuit court petitions or by the supervisor of elections for county court petitions.
(6) Upon a determination by the Secretary of State for circuit court petitions or by the supervisor of elections for county court petitions that the requisite number of valid signatures has been obtained, a certification of ballot position must be issued for the proposed method of selection of judges. A request to exercise a local option to change the method for selection of circuit or county court judges is deemed filed with the Secretary of State for circuit court judges or the supervisor of elections for county court judges upon the date of the receipt of a certificate or certificates indicating the petition has been signed by the constitutionally required number of electors.
(7) Within 10 days after each general election for which an initiative to change the method of selection of circuit or county court judges was placed on the ballot in any circuit or county in the state, the Secretary of State must notify the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida of the changed method for selection of judges for any circuit or county where the initiative passed.
(8) The Department of State shall have the authority to promulgate rules in accordance with ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to carry out the provisions of this section.
History.s. 9, ch. 99-355.
105.041 Form of ballot.
(1) BALLOTS.The names of candidates for nonpartisan office which appear on the ballot at the primary election shall be grouped together on a separate portion of the ballot or on a separate ballot. The names of candidates for election to nonpartisan office which appear on the ballot at the general election and the names of justices and judges seeking retention to office shall be grouped together on a separate portion of the general election ballot.
(2) LISTING OF CANDIDATES.The order of nonpartisan offices appearing on the ballot shall be determined by the Department of State. The names of candidates for election to each nonpartisan office shall be listed in alphabetical order. With respect to retention of justices and judges, the question “Shall Justice (or Judge) (name of justice or judge) of the (name of the court) be retained in office?” shall appear on the ballot in alphabetical order and thereafter the words “Yes” and “No.”
(3) REFERENCE TO PARTY AFFILIATION PROHIBITED.No reference to political party affiliation shall appear on any ballot with respect to any nonpartisan office or candidate.
(4) WRITE-IN CANDIDATES.Space shall be made available on the general election ballot for an elector to write in the name of a write-in candidate for judge of a circuit court or county court or member of a school board if a candidate has qualified as a write-in candidate for such office pursuant to s. 105.031. This subsection shall not apply to the offices of justices and judges seeking retention.
History.s. 4, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 55, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 80-305; s. 18, ch. 81-105; s. 4, ch. 99-326; s. 3, ch. 99-355; s. 2, ch. 2000-361; s. 22, ch. 2005-286; s. 34, ch. 2008-95.
105.051 Determination of election or retention to office.
(1) ELECTION.In circuits and counties holding elections:
(a) The name of an unopposed candidate for the office of circuit judge, county court judge, or member of a school board shall not appear on any ballot, and such candidate shall be deemed to have voted for himself or herself at the general election.
(b) If two or more candidates, neither of whom is a write-in candidate, qualify for such an office, the names of those candidates shall be placed on the ballot at the primary election. If any candidate for such office receives a majority of the votes cast for such office in the primary election, the name of the candidate who receives such majority shall not appear on any other ballot unless a write-in candidate has qualified for such office. An unopposed candidate shall be deemed to have voted for himself or herself at the general election. If no candidate for such office receives a majority of the votes cast for such office in the primary election, the names of the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes for such office shall be placed on the general election ballot. If more than two candidates receive an equal and highest number of votes, the name of each candidate receiving an equal and highest number of votes shall be placed on the general election ballot. In any contest in which there is a tie for second place and the candidate placing first did not receive a majority of the votes cast for such office, the name of the candidate placing first and the name of each candidate tying for second shall be placed on the general election ballot.
(c) The candidate who receives the highest number of votes cast for the office in the general election shall be elected to such office. If the vote at the general election results in a tie, the outcome shall be determined by lot.
(2) RETENTION.With respect to any justice or judge who qualifies to run for retention in office, the question prescribed in s. 105.041(2) shall be placed on the ballot at the general election. If a majority of the qualified electors voting on such question within the territorial jurisdiction of the court vote for retention, the justice or judge shall be retained for a term of 6 years commencing on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the general election. If less than a majority of the qualified electors voting on such question within the territorial jurisdiction of the court vote for retention, a vacancy shall exist in such office upon the expiration of the term being served by the justice or judge.
History.s. 5, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 19, ch. 81-105; s. 632, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 99-326; s. 4, ch. 99-355; s. 23, ch. 2005-286.
105.061 Electors qualified to vote.
(1) Each qualified elector of the territorial jurisdiction of a court shall be eligible to vote for a candidate for each judicial office of such court or, in the case of a justice or a judge seeking retention, for or against retention of such justice or judge.
(2) The election of members of a school board shall be by vote of the qualified electors as prescribed in chapter 1001.
History.s. 6, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 6, ch. 99-326; s. 5, ch. 99-355; s. 887, ch. 2002-387.
105.071 Candidates for judicial office; limitations on political activity.A candidate for judicial office shall not:
(1) Participate in any partisan political party activities, except that such candidate may register to vote as a member of any political party and may vote in any party primary for candidates for nomination of the party in which she or he is registered to vote.
(2) Campaign as a member of any political party.
(3) Publicly represent or advertise herself or himself as a member of any political party.
(4) Endorse any candidate.
(5) Make political speeches other than in the candidate’s own behalf.
(6) Make contributions to political party funds.
(7) Accept contributions from any political party.
(8) Solicit contributions for any political party.
(9) Accept or retain a place on any political party committee.
(10) Make any contribution to any person, group, or organization for its endorsement to judicial office.
(11) Agree to pay all or any part of any advertisement sponsored by any person, group, or organization wherein the candidate may be endorsed for judicial office by any such person, group, or organization.

A candidate for judicial office or retention therein who violates the provisions of this section is liable for a civil fine of up to $1,000 to be determined by the Florida Elections Commission.

History.s. 7, ch. 71-49; s. 2, ch. 72-310; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 633, ch. 95-147; s. 7, ch. 99-326.
105.08 Campaign contribution and expense; reporting.
(1) A candidate for judicial office or the office of school board member may accept contributions and may incur only such expenses as are authorized by law. Each such candidate shall keep an accurate record of his or her contributions and expenses, and shall file reports pursuant to chapter 106.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or chapter 106, a candidate for retention as a justice or a judge who has not received any contribution or made any expenditure may file a sworn statement at the time of qualifying that he or she does not anticipate receiving contributions or making expenditures in connection with the candidacy for retention to office. Such candidate shall file a final report pursuant to s. 106.141, within 90 days following the general election for which the candidate’s name appeared on the ballot for retention. Any such candidate for retention to judicial office who, after filing a statement pursuant to this subsection, receives any contribution or makes any expenditure in connection with the candidacy for retention shall immediately file a statement to that effect with the qualifying officer and shall begin filing reports as an opposed candidate pursuant to s. 106.07.
History.s. 8, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 3, ch. 89-152; s. 634, ch. 95-147; s. 8, ch. 99-326; s. 6, ch. 99-355.
105.09 Political activity in behalf of a candidate for judicial office limited.
(1) No political party or partisan political organization shall endorse, support, or assist any candidate in a campaign for election to judicial office.
(2) Any person who knowingly, in an individual capacity or as an officer of an organization, violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 9, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 635, ch. 95-147.
105.10 Applicability of election code.If any provision of this chapter is in conflict with any other provision of this code, the provision of this chapter shall prevail.
History.s. 10, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175.
105.101 Effect of revision of county court judge selection method.No county court judge elected prior to or at the election that approves any revision to the selection of county court judges shall be affected in his or her term of office. Any county judge wishing to apply for a subsequent term will be elected or retained pursuant to the method of election or selection and retention of county court judges in effect in the county for the election preceding the end of the judge’s term of office.
History.s. 11, ch. 99-355.
105.102 Effect of revision of circuit court judge selection method.No circuit court judge elected prior to or at the election that approves any revision to the selection of circuit court judge shall be affected in his or her term of office. Any circuit court judge wishing to apply for a subsequent term will be elected or retained pursuant to the method of election or selection and retention of circuit court judges in effect in the circuit for the election preceding the end of the judge’s term of office.
History.s. 12, ch. 99-355.