Becoming a Candidate

A Candidate is a Person Who: 

  • Seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petition process; 
  • Seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate; 
  • Receives contributions or makes expenditures, or consents for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bring about their nomination or election to, or retention in, public office; 
  • Appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository; or 
  • Files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law. 

This definition does not include an individual seeking a publically elected position for a political party executive committee.    

(Sections 97.021(6) and 106.011(3), Fla. Stat.)

When and What to File

Form DS-DE 9, Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates, is the first document that must be filed with the filing officer to become a candidate. At the same time, the candidate must designate the office for which they are running. A candidate can appoint a campaign treasurer and designate a campaign depository at any time, but no later than the date the candidate qualifies for office, and before any contributions are received, any expenditures are made, and any signatures are obtained on a candidate petition. Nothing prohibits a person from announcing their intention to become a candidate prior to filing Form DS-DE 9, as long as no contributions are received, no expenditures are made, and no signatures are obtained on a candidate petition.

Form DS-DE 9 must be filed with the filing officer: 

  • Prior to opening the campaign account. 
  • Prior to the candidate accepting any contributions or making any expenditures, or authorizing another to accept contributions or make expenditures on the person’s behalf. 
  • Prior to obtaining signatures on a DS-DE 104, Candidate Petition.

Note: The form is considered “filed” only when the filing officer receives the form (not upon mailing) and determines that the form is complete with original signatures.

Form DS-DE 84, Statement of Candidate, must be filed with the filing officer within ten days after filing Form DS-DE 9. This form states that the candidate has been provided access to read and understand the requirements of Chapter 106, Florida Statutes. The execution and filing of the statement of candidate does not in and of itself create a presumption that any violation of Chapter 106, Florida Statutes, or Chapter 104, Florida Statutes, is a willful violation. An individual seeking election to a political party executive committee is not required to file Form DS-DE 84

Form DS-DE 83, Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office, must be filed by each candidate for judicial office, including an incumbent judge, within ten 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. 

(Sections 105.031, 106.021, and 106.023, Fla. Stat.)

Filing Officer

The filing officer is the person before whom a candidate qualifies: 

  • Division: State, multi-county district, and judicial offices (except county court judge) 
  • Supervisor of Elections: County court judge, countywide, and district offices (except multi-county offices) 
  • Municipal Clerk: Municipal offices 

(Section 106.011(11), Fla. Stat.)

Qualifying Fee

The qualifying fee is either 4% of the annual salary for nonpartisan candidate positions, or 6% of the annual salary for partisan candidate positions.

  • The filing fee is 3% of the annual salary of the office sought.
  • The election assessment fee is 1% of the annual salary.
  • The party assessment fee for partisan candidates is 2% of the annual salary.

The qualifying fee is based on the annual salary of the office sought as of July 1 the year before qualifying.

Filing Petitions Instead of Paying a Qualifying Fee

Candidates have the option to waive the qualifying fee by collecting petitions instead. However, you may not collect signatures until you file the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository form.

The number of signatures required is based on the number of registered voters as of the previous general election’s book closing.

The Division of Elections creates the petition form, and it is available through the qualifying officer. You must use the official petition format.

The deadline for submitting petitions to the Supervisor of Elections is noon on the 28th day before the first day of the qualifying period of the office being sought.

Candidates should verify how many petition signatures are needed and the deadline for submitting petitions with the qualifying officer.

Changing Parties for Partisan Offices

A candidate seeking to qualify as a political party candidate may not have been a registered member of any other political party for 365 days before the beginning of qualifying preceding the general election for which the person seeks to qualify. This provision also applies to individuals seeking election to a political party executive committee office. 

(Section 99.021, Fla. Stat.)


Candidates for Hamilton County Offices qualify and file campaign reports with:

Hamilton County Supervisor of Elections
1153 US Hwy 41 NW, Suite 1
Jasper, Florida 32052

(386) 792-1426  •  Fax (386) 792-3205