The Florida Legislature passed new election laws this previous session. This was in response to the electorate’s concern regarding the state’s early voting hours and general guidelines. There are some pretty important changes to learn about.
This afternoon, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel, sent out this email blast explaining some of the changes in plain English.
*These are not all of the changes and there are some conditions involved. If you’ve got questions please contact your County Supervisor of Elections and other official channels*
Yesterday Governor Rick Scott signed the big elections legislation for 2013 that you may have heard or read about. There were several campaigns and elections-related issues in that bill, and several other bills. In this email, I’m focusing more on the county-level and smaller offices, so if you have any questions related to you or your organization, please feel free to give me a call.
Campaigns (all take effect Nov. 1, 2013)
–Campaign finance reports are now due every month, replacing the quarterly reports. In the last 60 days of the election, reports are due every other week on Fridays, as well as additional reports due the 25th and 11th days before an election. These timelines are different for statewide candidates, so please contact us if you are not sure about your timelines.
–Anyone running for a party executive committee slot who makes or spends contributions must file a campaign treasurer’s report the Friday before the election.
–Eliminates Committees of Continuous Existence.
–The $500 contribution limit to political committees which support of oppose a candidate has been lifted.
–County political parties may now contribute up to $50,000 per non-statewide candidate.
–The max contribution to county and city-level candidates is increased from $500 to $1,000.
–Campaign checks no longer have to strictly state “campaign account.”
–Campaign fundraiser invites must now have the disclaimer on it.
–If a candidate switches offices for which they are running, the carried-over contributions from the old campaign count towards the individual contribution limits of the new campaign.
–Candidate who qualify by petition are no longer required to reimburse the one percent election assessment before disbursing of leftover funds.
–Doubles the amount a successful candidate for county and city offices can keep in a post-election office account, yet delineates the allowed expenses with that account.
–Makes it a crime to possess more than two absentee ballots not belonging to you or an immediate family member.
–Any request for an absentee ballot which is to be mailed anywhere but the address to which you are registered to vote must be in writing. There is an obvious exception for overseas/ uniformed service members.
–Allows voters who forgot to sign their absentee ballots to complete a signed affidavit, which will allow their absentee ballot to count.
–Increases the minimum number of hours an early voting center must be open from six to eight.
–Local counties may now choose to have as many as six more days of early voting per election.
–Increases the allowable locations which can be used for early voting.
–Changes the primary, which now occurs two weeks closer to the general election. The 2014 primary election will now be August 26. Qualifying for local, non-judicial elections in 2014 is now June 16-20.