This information applies to candidates who qualify with the Supervisor of Elections. Candidates for Mayor, City Council or City Commission must contact the City Clerk of the city where they reside for guidance in accordance with their city charter.
- When can I open my bank account?
- May a candidate appoint himself or herself as campaign treasurer and sign campaign checks?
- Must a campaign treasurer be a registered voter in Florida?
- Can a deputy treasurer file and submit campaign reports?
- If my treasurer is out of town, can I have an extension to file my report?
- What are the contribution limits for a candidate?
- What is an “in-kind” contribution and are they subject to the same limitations as monetary contributions?
- If I receive an in-kind contribution of office space and it exceeds the limits, what should I do?
- Do I have to itemize small contributions 5¢, $1, $5, $10, etc.?
- Do I have to list the contributor’s occupation for every contribution?
- I received an anonymous contribution, how do I report it?
- How is my name to be printed on my campaign checks?
- Can I accept contributions in a government-owned building?
- How long do I have to deposit contributions into my campaign account?
- Can I use a debit card for my campaign account?
- May I use a credit card for my campaign account?
- How much may I withdraw for petty cash?
- If I want to be a No Party Affiliation candidate, can I still be registered to vote as a Republican or Democrat?
- I’m a candidate and have decided to run for a different office – what is the procedure?
- Do I have to file campaign reports on the Online Reporting System (ORS)?
- As a candidate, am I required to use closed-captioning and descriptive narrative in my television broadcasts?
- Can I conduct a raffle to raise money for my campaign?
- If I am late submitting my report, how is my fine calculated?
- Do I have to use a political disclaimer on all of my campaign literature?
- When can I begin collecting petition signatures?
- Do I have to resign my office to run for another office in Florida?
1. WHEN CAN I OPEN MY BANK ACCOUNT?
A candidate must file an Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE 9) with the Supervisor of Elections office before any contributions are accepted or expenditures are made (106.021, Florida Statutes). The DS-DE 9 must be filed with the Supervisor of Elections office BEFORE a bank account is opened and prior to collecting petition signatures. Special district candidates who do not collect contributions and whose only expense is the signature verification fee or filing fee may collect petitions without filing the DS-DE 9 [Section 99.061 (3) F.S.].
2. MAY A CANDIDATE APPOINT HIMSELF OR HERSELF AS CAMPAIGN TREASURER AND SIGN CAMPAIGN CHECKS?
Yes. Only the treasurer and deputy campaign treasurer may sign campaign checks. (F.S. 106.021(1)(c)
3. MUST A CAMPAIGN TREASURER BE A REGISTERED VOTER IN FLORIDA?
No. Effective 1/1/2008 the campaign treasurer does not have to be a registered voter in Florida.
4. CAN A DEPUTY TREASURER FILE AND SUBMIT CAMPAIGN REPORTS?
Yes. A deputy treasurer may perform all of the duties of a campaign treasurer when specifically authorized to do so by the campaign treasurer and the candidate. (F.S. 106.021(4))
5. IF MY TREASURER IS OUT OF TOWN, CAN I HAVE AN EXTENSION TO FILE MY REPORT?
No. Campaign financing laws do not provide for an extension for filing campaign reports under any circumstances.
6. WHAT ARE THE CONTRIBUTION LIMITS FOR A CANDIDATE?
$1,000 per election is the limit you may accept from a contributor. That includes either monetary or in-kind or the combination of both from an individual contributor. For contribution purposes, the primary and general elections are considered separate elections (F.S. 106.08). For cash or a cashier’s check the contribution limit is $50 (F.S. 106.09(1)).
7. WHAT IS AN “IN-KIND” CONTRIBUTION AND ARE THEY SUBJECT TO THE SAME LIMITATIONS AS MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS?
An in-kind contribution is anything having a monetary value in any form. (F.S. 106.011(3)(a)) Any person who makes an in-kind contribution shall place a fair market value on such contribution (F.S. 106.055). In-kind contributions are subject to the same contribution limitations set for monetary contributions.
8. IF I RECEIVE AN IN-KIND CONTRIBUTION OF OFFICE SPACE AND IT EXCEEDS THE LIMITS, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You may accept an in-kind contribution up to the contribution limit threshold. You may not exceed the limit. You may pay, with campaign funds, for the office space after the limit is reached. (F.S 106.08)
9. DO I HAVE TO ITEMIZE SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS 5¢, $1, $5, $10, ETC.?
Yes. Florida law provides no exceptions for the reporting of contribution information, regardless of the size of the contribution. The full name and address of the contributor is also required. Your report will be considered incomplete without the full name and address of each contributor. (F.S. 106.07(4)(a)(1)
10. DO I HAVE TO LIST THE CONTRIBUTOR’S OCCUPATION FOR EVERY CONTRIBUTION?
No. Only if the amount is over $100. The occupation must be specific. Listing occupation as businessman, business owner or executive is not specific. If a business contributes more than $100, the principal type of business must be listed. (F.S. 106.07 (4)(a)(1)
11. I RECEIVED AN ANONYMOUS CONTRIBUTION, HOW DO I REPORT IT?
We recommend candidates not accept anonymous contributions and avoid the hassle entirely. However, if an anonymous contribution is accepted, it may not be spent to the furtherance of your campaign. The anonymous contribution should be reported on the campaign report specifically as an anonymous contribution. A cover letter should accompany the report explaining that the contribution is anonymous and therefore impossible to return. The candidate is not to spend the contribution and at the end of the campaign, donate the amount of the anonymous contribution to an appropriate entity under F.S 106.141. (Division of Elections Opinion 89-02)
12. HOW IS MY NAME TO BE PRINTED ON MY CAMPAIGN CHECKS?
“Campaign Account of (Name of Candidate),” is recommended. See F.S. 106.11(1)(b) for minimum account information required for campaign checks. The Candidate and Campaign Treasurer's Handbook published by the Division of Elections is another good resource.
13. CAN I ACCEPT CONTRIBUTIONS IN A GOVERNMENT-OWNED BUILDING?
No person shall make, solicit or accept any political contribution in a building owned by a governmental entity (accept means to receive a contribution by personal hand delivery from a contributor or the contributor’s agent). This does not apply when a government-owned building or a portion thereof is rented for the specific purpose of holding a campaign fundraiser. (F.S 106.15(4))
14. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO DEPOSIT CONTRIBUTIONS INTO MY CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT?
All contributions must be deposited into the campaign account prior to the end of the 5 th business day following receipt excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. All deposits must be accompanied by a bank deposit slip containing the name of each contributor and the amount contributed by each. (F.S. 106.05)
15. CAN I USE A DEBIT CARD FOR MY CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT?
A candidate may use a debit card to make campaign expenditures. Debit cards are considered bank checks if they are obtained from the same bank that has been designated as the candidate’s primary campaign depository. A debit card must be issued in the name of the treasurer, deputy treasurer, or authorized user and state the name of the campaign account of the candidate. The person using the debit card cannot receive cash as part of any transaction. The treasurer, deputy treasurer or authorized user must sign each transaction. (F.S. 106.11(2))
16. MAY I USE A CREDIT CARD FOR MY CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT?
No. Credit cards may not be used by candidates running for local office. (F.S. 106.125)
17. HOW MUCH MAY I WITHDRAW FOR PETTY CASH?
The campaign treasurer or candidate may, until the close of the last day of qualifying for office, withdraw the amount of $500 per calendar quarter. Following the close of the last day of qualifying and until the election, the campaign treasurer or candidate may withdraw $100 per week ($500 per week for candidates for statewide office). Petty cash may be spent only in amounts of less than $100 and only for office supplies, transportation expenses, and other necessities. Petty cash shall not be used for the purchase of time, space, or services from communications media. The total amount withdrawn and the total amount spent must be reported in each reporting period. (F.S. 106.12)
18. IF I WANT TO BE A NO PARTY AFFILIATION CANDIDATE, CAN I STILL BE REGISTERED TO VOTE AS A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT?
Yes. No Party Affiliation candidates will have their name placed on the general election ballot. (F.S. 99.0955(1))
19. I’M A CANDIDATE AND HAVE DECIDED TO RUN FOR A DIFFERENT OFFICE – WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE?
A candidate must file a new Designation of Campaign Treasurer form (DS-DE 9). Within 15 days of the change of filing, the candidate must notify all contributors in writing and offer to return a pro rata share of his/her contribution – make sure to enclose the DS-DE 86 Request for Return of Contribution form. If the contributor returns the form within 30 days, then he/she is entitled to a pro rata share of his/ her contribution. Any contributions not requested to be returned within the 30-day period may be used by the candidate for the newly designated office. (F.S. 106.021(1))
20. DO I HAVE TO FILE CAMPAIGN REPORTS ON THE ONLINE REPORTING SYSTEM?
If the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections is your qualifying officer, you are required to submit all campaign reports using the Supervisor’s Online Reporting System. Each candidate is issued an ID number and password to use the Online Reporting System after they file the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository, form DS-DE 9. For all other candidates for whom the Division of Elections is their qualifying officer, they must file campaign reports using the Division’s electronic filing system.
21. AS A CANDIDATE, AM I REQUIRED TO USE CLOSED-CAPTIONING AND DESCRIPTIVE NARRATIVE IN MY TELEVISION BROADCASTS?
Yes. Each candidate is required to use closed-captioning and descriptive narrative in all television broadcasts regulated by the Federal Communication Commission or file a written statement with the filing officer stating reasons for not doing so. For local offices the Supervisor of Elections is your filing officer. (F.S. 106.165)
22. CAN I CONDUCT A RAFFLE TO RAISE MONEY FOR MY CAMPAIGN?
No. Pursuant to Section 849.09, Florida Statutes, it is unlawful for any person in this state to set up, promote, or conduct any lottery for money or anything of value.
23. IF I AM LATE SUBMITTING MY REPORT, HOW IS MY FINE CALCULATED?
Any candidate failing to file a report on the designated due date shall be subject to a fine of $50 per day for the first three days late and, thereafter, $500 per day for each late day, not to exceed 25 percent of the total receipts or expenditures, whichever is greater, for the period covered by the late report. However, for the reports immediately preceding the primary and general election, the fine shall be $500 per day for each late day, not to exceed 25 percent of the total receipts or expenditures, whichever is greater, for the period covered by the late report. For a candidate’s termination report, the fine shall be $50 per day for each late day, not to exceed 25 percent of the total receipts or expenditures, whichever is greater for the period covered by the late report. All fines must be paid from the candidate’s personal funds – not campaign funds.
(Section 106.07(2) and (8), F.S.)
24. DO I HAVE TO USE A POLITICAL DISCLAIMER ON ALL OF MY CAMPAIGN LITERATURE?
Any political advertisement that is paid for by a candidate (except a write-in candidate) and that is published, displayed, or circulated before, or on the day of, any election must prominently state a disclaimer. However, there are a few exceptions. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the Candidate and Campaign Treasurer Handbook: Division of Elections Publications
25. WHEN CAN I BEGIN COLLECTING PETITION SIGNATURES?
Signatures may not be obtained until the candidate has filed the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer & Designation of Campaign Depository form (DS-DE 9). The petitions are valid only for the qualifying period immediately following such filings. (F.S. 99.095)
Candidates are responsible for printing their own petitions. The petition form (DS-DE104) is found on the Division of Elections website.
26. DO I HAVE TO RESIGN MY OFFICE TO RUN FOR ANOTHER OFFICE IN FLORIDA?
Click here for a detailed Q&A prepared by the Division of Elections on the Resign to Run law in Florida.