Running for Office
So, you think you may want to run for office? Most first-time candidates, and many experienced candidates, have lots of questions about the process.
In an effort to address some of those questions, what follows is an explanation of some of the basics of becoming a
candidate for office. By no means is this meant to be a comprehensive explanation of everything a candidate needs to know. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact our Candidate Qualifying department at (850) 595-3900.
In addition, we have prepared a Candidate Frequently Asked Questions page and a list of offices up for election. This information is intended merely to summarize the process of becoming a candidate, and is not meant to be a comprehensive explanation of all relevant portions of Florida’s Election Laws. You may also refer to the Division of Elections Candidate Handbook
What Does It Mean to Be a Candidate?
A candidate is any person to whom any one or more of the following applies. A person who:
- Seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process
- Seeks to qualify for nomination or election as a write-in candidate
- Receives contributions or makes expenditures, or consents 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
- Appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository
- Files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law
How Do I Become a Candidate?
The first thing that you must do is file the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository, Form DS-DE 9, with the filing officer.
A candidate must designate the office for which he or she is a candidate at the same time he or she appoints a campaign treasurer and designates a campaign depository. A candidate may appoint a campaign treasurer and designate a campaign depository at any time, but no later than the date a candidate files for office. Nothing prohibits a person from announcing his or her intention to become a candidate prior to filing a Form DS-DE 9, so long as no contributions are received and no expenditures are made.
Next, the Statement of Candidate, Form DS-DE 84, must be filed by the candidate with the filing officer within 10 days after filing Form DS-DE 9. This form states that the candidate has been provided access to, read, and understands the requirements of Chapter 106, Florida Statutes.
What Is Qualifying for Office, and How and when Do I Do It?
Qualifying is a term that is used when referring to the legal process to get a candidate’s name on the ballot to be considered for election. The process, which is described below, is required by law.
Under current Florida law, which is subject to change, the qualifying dates for the 2016 statewide elections are as follows:
Candidate qualification for Judicial, State Attorney and Public Defender Candidates begins Noon, May 2, 2016, and ends Noon, May 6, 2016. For Federal, State and Local Candidates, qualifying begins Noon, June 20, 2016, and ends Noon, June 24, 2016.
For local offices in Escambia County, your filing officer is:
Honorable David H. Stafford
Escambia County Supervisor of Elections
Post Office Box 12601
213 Palafox Place, 2nd Floor
Pensacola, FL 32591-2601
Phone: (850) 595-3900
For federal, multi-county and statewide offices, your filing officer is:
Division of Elections
RA Gray Building, Room 316
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
Phone: (850) 245-6200
At qualifying time, you must file additional papers, which can be obtained from your filing officer. You may file your papers in person with the filing officer, or you may mail your qualifying papers to the above address. Qualifying papers must be received, and in order, at the office of the filing officer prior to noon local time on the last day of qualifying.
Does It Cost Anything to Qualify?
Candidates must pay a qualifying fee or file by the petition process, unless filing as a write-in candidate.