• Active Registered Voters as of
  • Democrats:
  • Republicans:
  • Others:
  • Total:

Becoming a Candidate


What is a Candidate?

A candidate is defined in 97.021(5) & 106.011(16), 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 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?  F.S. 99.021(2)

  • Anyone who is a registered voter in Highlands 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.

    NOTE:  
    Per DE 94-04 - March 3, 1994 Opinion from the Division of Elections - When Qualifications for Selected Offices Must Be Met; Residency.  

  • County Commission candidates 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 per 230.10, Florida Statutes;

  • If required, one's current position or office must be resigned under the "resign to run" law per 99.012(3), Florida Statutes;

  • Judges must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of assuming office.  Advisory Opinion to the Governor, 192 So. 2d 757 (Fla. 1966); Ops. Div. Elect. 78-31 (August 3, 1978), and 92-10 (June 24, 1992).  


Pre-Filing Forms  (Candidates can pre-file anytime before Qualifying Week.)

A person may become an announced candidate upon filing a Form DS-DE 9, and at that point can begin accepting contributions or making expenditures. 

Form DS-DE 9, Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates:

  1. Shall be filed with the filing officer prior to opening the campaign account.  
    F.S. 106.021

  2. Is not effective until the campaign treasurer signs it and it is filed with the filing officer.

  3. Is not considered "filed" upon mailing.

  4. Shall be on file with the filing officer prior to the candidate accepting any contributions or making any expenditures, or authorizing another to accept contributions or make expenditures on behalf of the candidate.

Form DS-DE 84, Statement of Candidate:

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 received, read and understands the requirements of Chapter 106, F.S. 

Form DS-DE 83 & DS-DE 84 - Judicial Office  F.S. 105.031, 106.021 & 106.023

Must be filed by each candidate for judicial office, including an incumbent judge, within (10) days after filing Form DS-DE 9.  This form states that the judicial candidate has received, read and understands the requirements of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. 


Qualifying for Federal, Statewide, Multi-county, County, District & Political Party Candidates 
(Qualifying Week:  Noon, June 18 - Noon, June 22, 2018) 

Alternative (Petition) Method

A candidate who has submitted the necessary petitions by the required deadline, (20 days prior to the first day of qualifying) or has paid the qualifying fee(s), and qualifies within the time prescribed is entitled to have his or her name printed on the ballot.

In order for a candidate to be qualified, the following items must be received by the filing officer by the end of the qualifying period:

  1. Form DS-DE 9, Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates.

  2. Form DS-DE 84 (filed within 10 days of filing Form DS-DE 9)

  3. Form DS-DE 24, Loyalty Oath, Oath of Candidate and Statement of Party for Candidates with Party Affiliation or Form DS-DE 24B, Loyalty Oath and Oath of Candidate for Candidates with No Party Affiliation.

  4. Form 6, Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests along with any other forms applicable as identified on Form 6. or  Form 1, Statement of Financial Interest (Special district offices only).

  5. Certified petition signatures.  If unable to collect the required number of signatures the candidate may opt to pay the qualifying fee.

Judicial, State Attorney and Public Defender Candidates
(Qualifying Week:  Noon, April 30 - Noon, May 4, 2018)

  1. Form DS-DE 9, Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates.

  2. Form DS-DE 84 (filed within 10 days of filing Form DS-DE 9)

  3. And Form DS-DE 83 (filed within 10 days of filing Form DS-DE 9) for Judicial Office

  4. Form DS-DE 26, Judicial Offices Loyalty Oath

  5. Form 6, Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests along with any other forms applicable as identified on Form 6.

  6. Certified petition signatures.  If unable to collect the required number of signatures the candidate may opt to pay the qualifying fee.


Candidates who wish NOT to file by Petition Method

  1. Form DS-DE 9, Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates.

  2. Form DS-DE 84 (filed within 10 days of filing Form DS-DE 9)

  3. Form DS-DE 24, Loyalty Oath, Oath of Candidate and Statement of Party for Candidates with Party Affiliation or Form DS-DE 24B, Loyalty Oath and Oath of Candidate for Candidates with No Party Affiliation.

  4. Form 6, Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests along with any other forms applicable as identified on Form 6 or  Form 1, Statement of Financial Interest (Special district offices only).

  5. Check written on campaign account for filing fees.  Pursuant to 99.092, Florida Statutes, qualifying fees consist of the following:

Filing Fee 3.0%
Party Assessment, if levied 2.0%
Election Assessment 1.0%
  6.0%

Partisan candidates pay 6% of the annual salary of the office sought. 

Non-partisan candidates pay 4% of the annual salary of the office sought (filing fee and election assessment).  The 1.0% election assessment is deposited into the Elections Commission Trust Fund.


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.