(1)(a) If any vacancy occurs in any office which is required to be filled pursuant to s. 1(f), Art. IV of the State Constitution and the remainder of the term of such office is 28 months or longer, then at the next general election a person shall be elected to fill the unexpired portion of such term, commencing on the first Tuesday after the first Monday following such general election.
(b) If such a vacancy occurs prior to the first day set by law for qualifying for election to office at such general election, any person seeking nomination or election to the unexpired portion of the term shall qualify within the time prescribed by law for qualifying for other offices to be filled by election at such general election.
(c) If such a vacancy occurs prior to the primary election but on or after the first day set by law for qualifying, the Secretary of State shall set dates for qualifying for the unexpired portion of the term of such office. Any person seeking nomination or election to the unexpired portion of the term shall qualify within the time set by the Secretary of State. If time does not permit party nominations to be made in conjunction with the primary election, the Governor may call a special primary election to select party nominees for the unexpired portion of such term.
(2)(a) If, in any state or county office required to be filled by election, a vacancy occurs during an election year by reason of the incumbent having qualified as a candidate for federal office pursuant to s. 99.061, no special election is required. Any person seeking nomination or election to the office so vacated shall qualify within the time prescribed by s. 99.061 for qualifying for state or county offices to be filled by election.
(b) If such a vacancy occurs in an election year other than the one immediately preceding expiration of the present term, the Secretary of State shall notify the supervisor of elections in each county served by the office that a vacancy has been created. Such notice shall be provided to the supervisor of elections not later than the close of the first day set for qualifying for state or county office. The supervisor shall provide public notice of the vacancy in any manner the Secretary of State deems appropriate.
(3) Whenever there is a vacancy for which a special election is required pursuant to s. 100.101, the Governor, after consultation with the Secretary of State, shall fix the dates of a special primary election and a special election. Nominees of political parties shall be chosen under the primary laws of this state in the special primary election to become candidates in the special election. Prior to setting the special election dates, the Governor shall consider any upcoming elections in the jurisdiction where the special election will be held. The dates fixed by the Governor shall be specific days certain and shall not be established by the happening of a condition or stated in the alternative. The dates fixed shall provide a minimum of 2 weeks between each election. In the event a vacancy occurs in the office of state senator or member of the House of Representatives when the Legislature is in regular legislative session, the minimum times prescribed by this subsection may be waived upon concurrence of the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate. If a vacancy occurs in the office of state senator and no session of the Legislature is scheduled to be held prior to the next general election, the Governor may fix the dates for the special primary election and for the special election to coincide with the dates of the primary election and general election. If a vacancy in office occurs in any district in the state Senate or House of Representatives or in any congressional district, and no session of the Legislature, or session of Congress if the vacancy is in a congressional district, is scheduled to be held during the unexpired portion of the term, the Governor is not required to call a special election to fill such vacancy.
(a) The dates for candidates to qualify in such special election or special primary election shall be fixed by the Department of State, and candidates shall qualify not later than noon of the last day so fixed. The dates fixed for qualifying shall allow a minimum of 14 days between the last day of qualifying and the special primary election.
(b) The filing of campaign expense statements by candidates in such special elections or special primaries and by committees making contributions or expenditures to influence the results of such special primaries or special elections shall be not later than such dates as shall be fixed by the Department of State, and in fixing such dates the Department of State shall take into consideration and be governed by the practical time limitations.
(c) The dates for a candidate to qualify by the petition process pursuant to s. 99.095 in such special primary or special election shall be fixed by the Department of State. In fixing such dates the Department of State shall take into consideration and be governed by the practical time limitations. Any candidate seeking to qualify by the petition process in a special primary election shall obtain 25 percent of the signatures required by s. 99.095.
(d) The qualifying fees and party assessments of such candidates as may qualify shall be the same as collected for the same office at the last previous primary for that office. The party assessment shall be paid to the appropriate executive committee of the political party to which the candidate belongs.
(e) Each county canvassing board shall make as speedy a return of the result of such special primary elections and special elections as time will permit, and the Elections Canvassing Commission likewise shall make as speedy a canvass and declaration of the nominees as time will permit.
(4)(a) In the event that death, resignation, withdrawal, removal, or any other cause or event should cause a party to have a vacancy in nomination which leaves no candidate for an office from such party, the Department of State shall notify the chair of the appropriate state, district, or county political party executive committee of such party; and, within 5 days, the chair shall call a meeting of his or her executive committee to consider designation of a nominee to fill the vacancy. The name of any person so designated shall be submitted to the Department of State within 7 days after notice to the chair in order that the person designated may have his or her name on the ballot of the ensuing general election. If the name of the new nominee is submitted after the certification of results of the preceding primary election, however, the ballots shall not be changed and the former party nominee’s name will appear on the ballot. Any ballots cast for the former party nominee will be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee. If there is no opposition to the party nominee, the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee will be elected to office at the general election. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “district political party executive committee” means the members of the state executive committee of a political party from those counties comprising the area involving a district office.
(b) When, under the circumstances set forth in the preceding paragraph, vacancies in nomination are required to be filled by committee nominations, such vacancies shall be filled by party rule. In any instance in which a nominee is selected by a committee to fill a vacancy in nomination, such nominee shall pay the same filing fee and take the same oath as the nominee would have taken had he or she regularly qualified for election to such office.
(c) Any person who, at the close of qualifying as prescribed in ss. 99.061 and 105.031, was qualified for nomination or election to or retention in a public office to be filled at the ensuing general election is prohibited from qualifying as a candidate to fill a vacancy in nomination for any other office to be filled at that general election, even if such person has withdrawn or been eliminated as a candidate for the original office sought. However, this paragraph does not apply to a candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor who applies to fill a vacancy in nomination for the office of Governor on the same ticket or to a person who has withdrawn or been eliminated as a candidate and who is subsequently designated as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor under s. 99.063.
(5) In the event of unforeseeable circumstances not contemplated in these general election laws concerning the calling and holding of special primary elections and special elections resulting from court order or other unpredictable circumstances, the Department of State shall have the authority to provide for the conduct of orderly elections.
History.—s. 4, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 16, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 1, ch. 29938, 1955; s. 1, ch. 57-91; s. 1, ch. 59-139; s. 2, ch. 65-240; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 73-191; s. 1, ch. 74-120; s. 12, ch. 77-175; s. 30, ch. 79-400; s. 4, ch. 83-15; s. 1, ch. 83-149; s. 15, ch. 89-338; s. 3, ch. 90-229; s. 13, ch. 90-315; s. 546, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 95-197; s. 5, ch. 99-140; s. 12, ch. 99-318; s. 20, ch. 2005-277; s. 13, ch. 2005-286; s. 23, ch. 2007-30.