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§ 99.012 Restrictions on individuals qualifying for public office.

Overview of Statute

This statute defines officer and subordinate officer, and states that no one can qualify for more than one public office if the two offices have terms that run concurrently. Further, no officer can qualify as a candidate for another state if the terms run concurrently, unless he or she resigns. The statute then outlines to whom resignations must be submitted. Further, the statute also lays out to whom these restrictions do not apply.

Statute

(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Officer” means a person, whether elected or appointed, who has the authority to exercise the sovereign power of the state pertaining to an office recognized under the State Constitution or laws of the state. With respect to a municipality, the term “officer” means a person, whether elected or appointed, who has the authority to exercise municipal power as provided by the State Constitution, state laws, or municipal charter.
(b) “Subordinate officer” means a person who has been delegated the authority to exercise the sovereign power of the state by an officer. With respect to a municipality, subordinate officer means a person who has been delegated the authority to exercise municipal power by an officer.
(2) No person may qualify as a candidate for more than one public office, whether federal, state, district, county, or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other.
(3)
(a) No officer may qualify as a candidate for another state, district, county, or municipal public office if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other without resigning from the office he or she presently holds.
(b) The resignation is irrevocable.
(c) The written resignation must be submitted at least 10 days prior to the first day of qualifying for the office he or she intends to seek.

(d) The resignation must be effective no later than the earlier of the following dates:

1. The date the officer would take office, if elected; or
2. The date the officer’s successor is required to take office.
(e)
1. An elected district, county, or municipal officer must submit his or her resignation to the officer before whom he or she qualified for the office he or she holds, with a copy to the Governor and the Department of State.
2. An appointed district, county, or municipal officer must submit his or her resignation to the officer or authority which appointed him or her to the office he or she holds, with a copy to the Governor and the Department of State.
3. All other officers must submit their resignations to the Governor with a copy to the Department of State.
(f)
1. With regard to an elective office, the resignation creates a vacancy in office to be filled by election. Persons may qualify as candidates for nomination and election as if the public officer’s term were otherwise scheduled to expire.
2. With regard to an elective charter county office or elective municipal office, the vacancy created by the officer’s resignation may be filled for that portion of the officer’s unexpired term in a manner provided by the respective charter. The office is deemed vacant upon the effective date of the resignation submitted by the official in his or her letter of resignation.
(g) Any officer who submits his or her resignation, effective immediately or effective on a date prior to the date of his or her qualifying for office, may then qualify for office as a nonofficeholder, and the provisions of this subsection do not apply.
(4) 
        (a)    Any officer who qualifies for federal public office must resign from the office he or she presently holds if the terms, or any part thereof, run concurrently with each other.
        (b)    The resignation is irrevocable.
        (c)    The resignation must be submitted at least 10 days before the first day of qualifying for the office he or she intends to seek.
        (d)    The written resignation must be effective no later than the earlier of
the following dates:
                  1.    The date the officer would take office, if elected; or
                  2.    The date the officer’s successor is required to take office.
        (e)     1.     An elected district, county, or municipal officer shall submit his or her resignation to the officer before whom he or she qualified for the office he or she holds, with a copy to the Governor and the Department of State.
                   2.    An appointed district, county, or municipal officer shall submit his or her resignation to the officer or authority which appointed him or her to the office he or she holds, with a copy to the Governor and the Department of State.
                   3.    All other officers shall submit their resignations to the Governor with a copy to the Department of State.
         (f)      1.     The failure of an officer who qualifies for federal public office to submit a resignation pursuant to this subsection constitutes an automatic irrevocable resignation, effective immediately, from the office he or she presently holds.
                    2.     The Department of State shall send a notice of the automatic resignation to the Governor, and in the case of a district, county, or municipal officer, a copy to:
                             a.    The officer before whom he or she qualified if the officer held an elective office; or
                             b.     The officer or authority who appointed him or her if the officer held an appointive office.
          (g)    Notwithstanding the provisions of any special act to the contrary, with regard to an elective office, the resignation creates a vacancy in office to be filled by election, thereby authorizing persons to qualify as candidates for nomination and election as if the officer’s term were otherwise scheduled to expire. With regard to an elective charter county office or elective municipal office, the vacancy created by the officer’s resignation may be filled for that portion of the officer’s unexpired term in a manner provided by the respective charter. The office is deemed vacant upon the effective date of the resignation submitted by the official in his or her letter of resignation.
(5)     A person who is a subordinate officer, deputy sheriff, or police officer must resign effective upon qualifying pursuant to this chapter if the person is seeking to qualify for a public office that is currently held by an officer who has authority to appoint, employ, promote, or otherwise supervise that person and who has qualified as a candidate for reelection to that office.
(6) If an order of a court that has become final determines that a person did not comply with this section, the person shall not be qualified as a candidate for election and his or her name may not appear on the ballot.

(7) This section does not apply to:

(a) Political party offices.
(b) Persons serving without salary as members of an appointive board or authority.
(8) Subsections (3) and (4) do not apply to persons holding any federal office. Subsection (4) does not apply to an elected officer if the term of the office that he or she presently holds is scheduled to expire and be filled by election in the same primary and general election period as the federal office he or she is seeking.

History:

s. 1, ch. 63-269; s. 2, ch. 65-378; s. 1, ch. 70-80; s. 10, ch. 71-373; s. 1, ch. 74-76; s. 3, ch. 75-196; s. 1, ch. 79-391; s. 47, ch. 81-259; s. 1, ch. 83-15; s. 28, ch. 84-302; s. 31, ch. 91-107; s. 534, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 99-146; s. 1, ch. 2000-274; s. 14, ch. 2007-30; s. 14, ch. 2008-4; s. 9, ch. 2008-95; s. 12, ch. 2011-40; s. 1, ch. 2018-126.

Annotation: March 1, 2016 9:10 pm

The 10 day notice of resignation allows the qualifying officer to open qualifying for the office during the regular qualifying period, if that office was not otherwise scheduled for election. However, if an officer does not submit his or her resignation at least 10 days prior to the first day of qualifying and still wishes to qualify for another office, he or she may submit a resignation effective immediately and therefore qualify as a non officeholder.

Annotation: February 11, 2016 11:55 pm

Several states allow persons to run for two federal offices, such as vice-president and U.S. Senator or vice-president and U.S. House of Representatives. Candidates from other states may run concurrently for federal office in Florida and for their local out-of-state seat, such as former Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, who in 2012 ran for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Wisconsin, and for vice-president. By contrast, in Florida in 2016, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, whose term was up in 2016, announced his intent not to run for Senate re-election as he announced his intent to run for president in 2015. However, once Sen. Rubio suspended his presidential campaign, he was able to run for re-election to the Senate. In states such as Wisconsin, Texas, and Connecticut, candidates have run for re-election to Congress and vice-president at the same time.

Definition [Public Office]

Any federal, state, county, municipal, school, or other district office or position which is filled by vote of the electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(32).

Definition [Public Office]

A state, county, municipal, or school or other district office or position that is filled by vote of the electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(32).

Definition [General Election]

An election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years, for the purpose of filling national, state, county, and district offices and for voting on constitutional amendments not otherwise provided for by law. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(16).

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(2).

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) 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.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(6).

Cases

Florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Am. Jur. 2d Public Officers and Employees s 63, Statutory and other codified provisions

  • 24 Florida Practice Series s 15:20, Form for judicial candidate’s oath (per Fla. Stat. sec. 105.031)

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Civil Servants and Other Public Officers and Employees s 16, Qualifying to run for more than one office; resignation to run

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Counties and Municipal Corporations s 140, Vacancies

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 82, Resignation from present office