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)
Must a campaign treasurer be a registered voter in Florida?
No. The campaign treasurer does not have to be a registered voter in Florida.
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)
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 these circumstances. F.S. 106.07 (8)(a)
What are the contribution limits for a candidate?
$1,000 per election is the limit you may accept from a contributor. (F.S. 106.08) 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 cashier’s check the contribution limit is $50 in aggregate, per election. F.S. 106.09
May I accept contributions through PayPal?
Yes, you may accept contributions through PayPal. You will report the contribution the same way as you would report a check. You must include the occupation for contributions over $100. You must also report the transaction fee as an expenditure.
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 made for the purpose of influencing an election. 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. F.S. 106.08 (2)(b)
If I make a mistake on my report can I go back in and correct it on the Online Reporting System (ORS)?
Once a report is submitted the ORS will not permit you to go back and make changes. In order to make corrections you must submit an “amendment.” It is very important to verify accuracy before submitting.
Do I have to itemize small contributions of 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. F.S. 106.07(4)(a)1
Do I have to list the contributor’s occupation for every contribution?
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
I received an anonymous contribution, how do I report it?
This should be reported on the campaign report as an anonymous contribution. A letter should be sent to the filing officer 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
How is my name to be printed on my campaign checks?
The checks must list the name of the campaign account of the candidate or political committee. See F.S. 106.11(1)(b) for minimum account information required for campaign checks.
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)
When can a candidate pay themselves back for loans to their own campaign?
A candidate who makes a loan to his or her campaign and reports the loan as required may be reimbursed for the loan at any time the campaign account has sufficient funds to repay the loan and satisfy its other obligations. F.S. 106.11 (6)
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 5th 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
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. The card(s) must list the name of campaign account of the candidate or political committee. No more than 3 debit cards may be issued. 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)
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
How much may I withdraw for petty cash?
The campaign treasurer 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 may withdraw $100 per week. 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
Do I have to designate a campaign treasurer and depository before I make public my intention to run for office?
No. Nothing in the election laws prohibits a person from announcing their intention to become a candidate prior to designating a treasurer or depository as long as no contributions are received and no expenditures are made in connection with that announcement. F.S. 106.021
What is the resign to run law and does it apply to me?
In certain circumstances, public employees are required to resign from their current position in order to run for office. The same is true for certain elected officials.
The resignation must be submitted in writing at least 10 days prior to the first day of qualifying for the office the person intends to seek. The resignation must take effect no later than the earlier of the following dates:
* The date the officer would take office, if elected; or
* The date the officer’s successor is required to take office.
If I want to be a No Party Affiliation candidate, can I still be registered to vote as a Republican or Democrat?
No. No Party Affiliation candidates must affirm in writing when qualifying that they have not been a registered member of any political party for 365 days before the beginning of the qualifying period. F.S. 99.021 (1)(c)
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 – must send the DS-DE 86 Request for Return of Contribution form along with notification. 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)
Do I have to file campaign reports on the Online Reporting System (ORS)?
The Escambia County Supervisor of Elections requires that all campaign reports be filed through the Online Reporting System (ORS). Each candidate will be issued a password and ID number that will be mailed to them after filing the DS-DE 9 Appointment of Campaign Treasurer Form.
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
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 or conduct any lottery drawing for the distribution of a prize or prizes by lot or chance.
If I am late submitting my report, how is my fine calculated?
$50 per day for the first 3 days late and, thereafter, $500 per day for each late day, not to exceed 25% 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 elections, the fine shall be $500 per day for each late day, not to exceed 25% of the total contributions or expenditures, whichever is greater, for the period covered by the late report. F.S. 106.07 (8)(b)
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 prior to, or on the day of, any election must prominently state:
For partisan offices:
“Political advertisement paid for and approved by (name of candidate), (party affiliation), for (office sought).”
“Paid by …(name of candidate)…, …(party affiliation)…, for …(office sought)….”
For non-partisan offices:
“Political advertisement paid for and approved by (name of candidate), for (office sought).”
“Paid by …(name of candidate)…, for …(office sought)….”
For No Party Affiliation candidates:
“Political advertisement paid for and approved by (name of candidate), No Party Affiliation for (office sought).”
“Paid by …(name of candidate)…, NPA, for …(office sought)….”
See F.S. 106.143 for additional details.
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 (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 format is found on the Division of Elections website