Each year the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections verifies candidate petitions signed by voters in Pinellas County. Candidates who wish to qualify by petition must secure the required number of valid signatures in order to be placed on an upcoming election ballot.
Archive Candidate Petition Summaries
What Petition Form Should Candidates Use?
- Candidates are required to use Form DS-DE 104 Candidate Petition (Spanish) to obtain signatures of registered voters.
- A separate petition is required for each candidate.
- Candidates are responsible for reproducing the petition.
Can the Form be Altered?
Form DS-DE 104
) may be reproduced to include the candidate's information and/or the voter's information.
Form DS-DE 104 may be resized within the Division's requirements (no smaller than 3 inches by 5 inches and no larger than 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches), but the format or wording cannot be changed.
Multiple petitions can be included per page. BUT, prior to presenting petitions to be verified by the Supervisor of Elections, the petitions must be separated.
Political disclaimers are not required on petition forms.
The petition form may be included within a larger advertisement, provided the form is clearly defined by a solid or broken border. (Political disclaimers requirements will apply to the advertisement.)
How Many Signatures are Needed?
A candidate running for countywide office in 2020 may qualify by submitting valid petition signatures equal to 1% (or 6,669 petition signatures) of the registered voters in Pinellas County as of the last general election, November 6, 2018.
Single-Member Districts require the following:
- Board of County Commissioners, District 5 Single Member: 1,555 valid signatures
- Board of County Commissioners, District 7 Single Member: 1,626 valid signatures
- School Board, District 4: 1,754 valid signatures
- School Board, District 5: 1,555 valid signatures
Special district candidates must obtain the signatures of 25 registered voters in the geographical area represented by the office sought.
Write-In candidates are NOT required to obtain signatures to qualify.
Candidates for federal, state and multi-county offices: See the Division of Election’s website for petition requirements.
What is a Random Sampling of Petitions?
If the number of petitions submitted equals at least 15% more than the required number of signatures, a candidate may request the supervisor of elections use the random sampling verification method in certifying petitions, pursuant to F.S. 99.097(1)2. & (2).
When Can A Candidate Start Collecting Petitions?
A candidate can collect signatures as soon as Form DS-DE 9 Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository is filed with the filing officer. Petitions signed prior to the date the DS-DE 9 is filed with the filing officer are not valid.
Exception: Federal and special district candidates are not required to file the DS-DE 9 prior to collecting signatures.
How Long are Signed Petitions Valid?
Signatures for all candidates are valid only for the next qualifying period for that office immediately following such filings. Some exceptions apply regarding special elections and off-cycle elections for filling vacancies.
Where Can Candidates Collect Petitions?
Absent a local ordinance, a candidate can collect petition signatures in any public place including government-owned buildings. Section 106.15(4), Florida Statutes, is often misconstrued to prohibit collecting petition signatures in a government-owned building. However, this prohibition only applies to soliciting or knowingly accepting contributions.
Can a Candidate Pay Someone to Collect Petitions?
Yes. There is nothing in the Election Code that prohibits a candidate from paying persons to collect petitions. However, if a candidate pays any person to solicit signatures on a petition, he/she may not file an undue burden affidavit in lieu of paying the fee for signature verification.
If an undue burden affidavit (Spanish) has been filed and a candidate subsequently pays any person to solicit signatures on a petition, the undue burden oath is no longer valid and a fee for all signatures previously submitted to the supervisor of elections and any that are submitted thereafter shall be paid by the candidate.
Where Should Petitions be Submitted?
Signed petition forms are submitted for verification to the Supervisor of Elections in the county in which the voter is registered. In the case of a misfiled petition, the filing date of the petition is the date such petition is filed with the proper county.
When is the Deadline for Accepting Petitions?
The deadline for accepting candidate petitions is noon of the 28th day before the first day of the qualifying period for the office sought. For 2020, these deadlines are:
- PRIOR to NOON, March 23, 2020 – Federal, judicial, state attorney and public defender
- PRIOR to NOON, May 11, 2020 – State, multi-county, county and district
There is a fee of 10 cents per signature or the actual cost of checking such signatures, whichever is less, to be paid in advance to the supervisor of elections for the cost of verifying the signature. The payment must be made with a campaign check, with the exception of special district candidates who choose not to open a campaign account pursuant to F.S. 99.061(3).
Undue Burden Affidavit
If such charges impose an undue burden on the candidate’s resources, the candidate may file an Undue Burden Affidavit and the fee will be waived, pursuant to F.S. 99.097(4). If a candidate pays any person to solicit signatures on a petition, he/she may not subsequently file an undue burden oath in lieu of paying the fee to have signatures verified for that petition. If an undue burden oath has been filed and a candidate subsequently pays any person to solicit signatures on a petition, the oath is no longer valid and a fee for all signatures previously submitted to the supervisor of elections and any that are submitted thereafter shall be paid by the candidate who submitted the undue burden oath. If any contributions as defined in section 106.011 are received, any monetary contributions must first be used to reimburse the supervisor of elections for any signature verification fees that were not paid because of the filing of an undue burden oath.
Source: Candidate Petition Handbook, Division of Elections