Code Section
Florida > The Florida Election Code > Nonpartisan Elections

§ 105.08 Campaign contribution and expense; reporting.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs contributions in nonpartisan elections. Candidates for judicial office and school board are allowed to accept contributions, and can incur expenses that are authorized by law. All nonpartisan candidates must keep accurate records of their contributions and expenses, and are also required to file reports. Candidates for retention who have not received contributions or made expenditures are allowed to file statements when they qualify that they do not anticipate receiving contributions or making expenditures. These candidates must file reports by 90 days after the general election. These candidates who then receive contributions or make expenditures have to file statements and must file reports as opposed candidates.


(1) A candidate for judicial office or the office of school board member may accept contributions and may incur only such expenses as are authorized by law. Each such candidate shall keep an accurate record of his or her contributions and expenses, and shall file reports pursuant to chapter 106.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or chapter 106, a candidate for retention as a justice or a judge who has not received any contribution or made any expenditure may file a sworn statement at the time of qualifying that he or she does not anticipate receiving contributions or making expenditures in connection with the candidacy for retention to office. Such candidate shall file a final report pursuant to s. 106.141, within 90 days following the general election for which the candidate’s name appeared on the ballot for retention. Any such candidate for retention to judicial office who, after filing a statement pursuant to this subsection, receives any contribution or makes any expenditure in connection with the candidacy for retention shall immediately file a statement to that effect with the qualifying officer and shall begin filing reports as an opposed candidate pursuant to s. 106.07.


s. 8, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 3, ch. 89-152; s. 634, ch. 95-147; s. 8, ch. 99-326; s. 6, ch. 99-355.

Definition [Expenditure]

(a) A purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, transfer of funds by a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer between a primary depository and a separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit, or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication. However, “expenditure” does not include a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election when made by an organization, in existence before the time during which a candidate qualifies or an issue is placed on the ballot for that election, for the purpose of printing or distributing such organization’s newsletter, containing a statement by such organization in support of or opposition to a candidate or issue, which newsletter is distributed only to members of such organization.

(b) As used in chapter 106, an “expenditure” for an electioneering communication is made when the earliest of the following occurs:

1. A person enters into a contract for applicable goods or services;

2. A person makes payment, in whole or in part, for the production or public dissemination of applicable goods or services; or

3. The electioneering communication is publicly disseminated. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(10).

Definition [Contribution]

(a) A gift, subscription, conveyance, deposit, loan, payment, or distribution of money or anything of value, including contributions in kind having an attributable monetary value in any form, made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication.

(b) A transfer of funds between political committees, between electioneering communications organizations, or between any combination of these groups.

(c) The payment, by a person other than a candidate or political committee, of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a candidate or political committee without charge to the candidate or committee for such services.

(d) The transfer of funds by a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer between a primary depository and a separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit, and the term includes interest earned on such account or certificate.

Notwithstanding the foregoing meanings of “contribution,” the term may not be construed to include services, including, but not limited to, legal and accounting services, provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee or editorial endorsements. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(5).

Definition [Judicial Office]

Includes the office of:

(a) Justice of the Supreme Court.

(b) Judge of a district court of appeal.

(c) Judge of a circuit court.

(d) County court judge.

A judicial office is a nonpartisan office, and a candidate for election or retention thereto is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for such an office based on party affiliation. Fla. Stat. § 105.011(2).

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 [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).


Florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Zeller v. The Florida Bar

Citation: 909 F.Supp. 1518

Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida

Year: 1995

Case URL:

Case Summary: Zeller v. The Florida Bar held that defendants were preliminarily enjoined from enforcing the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct Canon that prohibited candidates for judicial office from making campaign expenditures, since the harm to defendants in enjoining the limitations was outweighed by the more serious harm to plaintiffs and by the public interest in protecting political speech/expression.

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Courts and Judges s 292, Nonpartisanship requirement

  • “Merit Appointment Versus Popular Election: A Reformer’s Guide to Judicial Selection Methods in Florida” 43 Fla. L. Rev. 529

  • 0050 Surveys 1; Candidate Filing Requirements

  • 0050 Surveycheck 1; Candidate Filing Requirements