Change to Florida Election Law impacts Deadline for Candidates to Change Party Affiliation
Senate Bill 90 passed recently by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. DeSantis on May 6, 2021 establishes
new requirements for candidates who wish to change their party affiliation to run for a partisan office.
Under the new law, at qualifying all candidates for a partisan office will be required to affirm in writing, under oath, that they have
been a registered member of the party whose nomination as a candidate they are seeking for 365 days before qualifying begins.
In addition, candidates who wish to run with No Party Affiliation (NPA) for a partisan office will be required to affirm in writing, under oath
that they have not been a registered member of any political party for 365 days before qualifying begins. These requirements apply to
partisan offices only.
Qualifying for federal, state and local offices begins on June 13, 2022. The 365 day deadline for candidates to change party affiliation is June 12, 2021.
What is a Candidate?
A candidate is defined in 97.021(3), Florida Statutes, 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 a 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 their consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures with a view to bringing about their 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.
· County Commission candidates for districts 1-5 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;
· If required, one's current position or office must be resigned under the "resign to run" law (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 you collect any money toward your candidacy, spend any money in furtherance of your candidacy, collect signatures to qualify by the Petition Process, or open a bank account. (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;
· A judicial candidate must file a Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office (Form DS-DE 83) 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.
· Legislative Candidates must contact the filing officer with the Department of State Division of Elections.
Is it possible to run for a different office after I become a candidate?
Yes, 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 do the following;
· 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 in full or 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
THE REMOVAL OF A CANDIDATES SIGNS WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE CANDIDATE OR PROPERTY OWNER IS A CRIMINAL ACT AND IS SUBJECT TO THE PENALITIES PRESCRIBED UNDER F.S. 812.041.