Judges in the state of Florida participate in retention elections and nonpartisan elections held in even-numbered years as one of the 14 states in the U.S. with partisan or nonpartisan judicial elections, as well as retention elections.
On primary day, voters can choose between two different types of judges. This includes Circuit Court Judges who oversee felony criminal cases as well as significant civil litigation issues, and County Court Judges who rule over misdemeanor cases and minor civil financial disputes.
With Judicial Elections in Miami-Dade seemingly right around the corner, our team from Reach Voters is breaking down some information on the campaign regulations regarding judicial races in our county. Read on to learn more!
Outside of special district candidates, the state of Florida requires judicial candidates to obtain a series of signatures equal to one percent of the geographical area for the last general election. For example, a Circuit Court Judge candidate for Miami-Dade’s District 11 remains accountable for 14,289 voter signatures.
Candidates may collect petition signatures in any public place as outlined by Florida Statute 106.15(4). The candidate can then submit their petition forms for verification to the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections by March 23rd, 2020.
Campaigns and committees remain bound by Florida law to disclosed detailed records regarding their campaign contributions, as well as expenditures. Florida Statutes Chapter 106 regulates campaign financing for any judicial candidate. These laws can be very complex, luckily the State of Florida provides these useful and informative candidate and committee handbooks.
Candidates for judicial office cannot participate in any partisan political party activities. However, they can register to vote as a part of any political party, as well as vote in any primary for candidates in which they remain registered to vote.
Candidates cannot campaign as a member of a political party as Florida judicial elections are nonpartisan elections. They also cannot publicly represent or advertise themselves as a member of a political party or similarly endorse a candidate.
Furthermore, judicial candidates cannot accept contributions from political parties, accept or retain a position on a political party committee, solicit these contributions, or contribute funds and campaign efforts for judicial office endorsement.
Nonpartisan elections involve candidates appearing on the ballot without any reference to political parties. Florida law requires judicial elections to remain nonpartisan as this preserve the impartiality of the judge position.
Judicial candidates remain prohibited from making predictions and promises regarding issues that may arise once they sit on the bench. Their job is to make impartial decisions simply relating to the law on the cases they may face in this position.
For this reason, discussion, contribution and otherwise regarding political parties must remain (legally) absent from a judicial campaign, as well as election proceedings.
Any person is qualified to run in a judicial election after earning their law degree from an accredited university from the American Bar Association. However, any candidate in Florida for trial judge must additionally remain an active member of The Florida Bar for at least five years. Appellate judges must remain members for at least ten years.
In the case of judicial candidates in Miami-Dade, they must remain an active resident of the Miami-Dade County area when they take office.
The information regarding judicial elections for candidates as well as voters is often complex and convoluted. For this reason, Reach Voters works hard to maintain accurate and up-to-date information on these election and campaign proceedings. This includes and extends beyond the campaign regulations for judicial candidates.
To learn more about the campaign regulations for upcoming elections in South Florida, as well as more information for candidates and voters, contact Reach Voters and direct your attention to the following content: