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Senate Bill 0958

Senate Bill sb0958c1

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958

    By the Committee on Ethics and Elections; and Senator
    Constantine




    582-2221-07

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to elections; amending s.

  3         97.021, F.S.; redefining the term "minor

  4         political party"; amending s. 97.053, F.S.;

  5         requiring an applicant for voter registration

  6         to be notified when the application cannot be

  7         verified; providing for registration upon

  8         presentation of evidence of a driver's license

  9         number, identification card number, or the last

10         four digits of the applicant's social security

11         number; changing the time within which a person

12         casting a provisional ballot may present

13         evidence of eligibility to vote; changing the

14         time for voter registrations to be entered into

15         the statewide voter registration system;

16         creating s. 98.056, F.S.; prescribing

17         registration list maintenance forms; amending

18         s. 98.065, F.S.; revising duties of supervisors

19         of elections with respect to registration list

20         maintenance programs; amending s. 98.075, F.S.;

21         providing circumstances for removal of the name

22         of a deceased voter; amending s. 99.021, F.S.;

23         prescribing form of oath for candidates for

24         federal office; amending s. 99.061, F.S.;

25         prescribing times for qualifying for nomination

26         or election; prescribing specific procedures

27         for qualifying for special district office;

28         providing that the filing fee of a candidate

29         for a special district election need not be

30         drawn on a campaign account; amending s.

31         99.093, F.S.; providing for assessments paid by

                                  1

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         municipal candidates to be forwarded to the

 2         Florida Elections Commission; amending s.

 3         99.095, F.S.; prescribing the number of

 4         signatures required for a candidate for special

 5         district office to qualify by petition;

 6         prescribing the time for certification to the

 7         Division of Elections of certain candidates

 8         qualifying by petition; amending s. 99.097,

 9         F.S.; prescribing procedure if a petition

10         signatory lists an address other than the

11         address at which he or she is registered;

12         amending s. 100.041, F.S.; prescribing the time

13         when a county commissioner is deemed elected;

14         amending s. 100.061, F.S.; changing the date of

15         the primary election; amending s. 100.191,

16         F.S.; revising the time for canvassing special

17         election returns; amending s. 100.361, F.S.;

18         prescribing procedures for conducting municipal

19         recall elections; providing for petitions;

20         prescribing grounds for recall; providing for

21         filling vacancies; proscribing certain acts

22         with respect to recall elections and providing

23         penalties; amending s. 101.041, F.S.; revising

24         provisions that require secret voting; amending

25         s. 101.048, F.S.; changing the time within

26         which a person casting a provisional ballot may

27         present evidence of eligibility to vote;

28         amending s. 101.111, F.S.; requiring the

29         supervisor of elections to present the election

30         board with a copy of the challenge to a voter's

31         right to vote; amending s. 101.51, F.S.;

                                  2

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         deleting provisions relating to announcing the

 2         name of a voter; amending s. 101.6103, F.S.;

 3         changing the time to begin canvassing mail

 4         ballots; amending s. 101.62, F.S.; revising the

 5         period of effectiveness of a request for an

 6         absentee ballot; revising the time for sending

 7         an absentee ballot to an overseas elector;

 8         revising time period for providing absentee

 9         ballots; amending s. 101.68, F.S.; changing the

10         time to begin canvassing absentee ballots;

11         amending s. 101.733, F.S.; revising provisions

12         relating to giving notice of an election

13         rescheduled due to emergency; authorizing the

14         holding of an election by mail; amending s.

15         102.014, F.S.; revising provisions relating to

16         poll worker recruitment and training; amending

17         s. 102.112, F.S.; changing the deadline for

18         submitting county returns to the Department of

19         State; amending s. 102.141, F.S.; requiring

20         submission of preliminary returns in certain

21         format by election night to the Department of

22         State; changing the time to submit unofficial

23         returns; amending s. 102.166, F.S.; conforming

24         a cross-reference; amending s. 103.022, F.S.;

25         revising the time for qualification as write-in

26         candidates for President and Vice President;

27         creating s. 103.085, F.S.; prescribing

28         guidelines for creation of minor political

29         parties; requiring certain information to be

30         filed; authorizing rules to prescribe the

31         manner in which such party's registration may

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         be canceled; amending s. 103.091, F.S.;

 2         changing the times for qualifying for election

 3         to a political party executive committee;

 4         amending s. 105.031, F.S.; changing the times

 5         for qualifying for school board candidates;

 6         amending s. 106.07, F.S.; changing the times

 7         for submitting reports of contributions

 8         received and expenditures made; amending s.

 9         106.35, F.S.; revising the time for the

10         Division of Elections to distribute funds to

11         candidates; amending s. 112.51, F.S.; providing

12         for filling vacancies created when a municipal

13         officer has been removed from office; amending

14         s. 189.405, F.S.; revising qualification

15         procedures for candidates for special district

16         office; amending s. 191.005, F.S.; revising

17         qualification procedures for candidates for

18         independent special fire control district

19         boards of commissioners; amending s. 582.18,

20         F.S.; revising qualification procedures for

21         candidates for soil and water conservation

22         district supervisors; amending s. 876.05, F.S.;

23         exempting candidates for federal office from

24         taking the public employees' oath; repealing s.

25         104.29, F.S., relating to inspectors refusing

26         to allow watchers while ballots are counted;

27         providing an effective date.

28  

29  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

30  

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         Section 1.  Subsection (17) of section 97.021, Florida

 2  Statutes, is amended to read:

 3         97.021  Definitions.--For the purposes of this code,

 4  except where the context clearly indicates otherwise, the

 5  term:

 6         (17)  "Minor political party" is any group that

 7  registers pursuant to s. 103.085, and that as defined in this

 8  subsection which on January 1 preceding a primary election has

 9  does not have registered as members 5 percent or fewer of the

10  total registered electors of the state as registered members

11  of the group. Any group of citizens organized for the general

12  purposes of electing to office qualified persons and

13  determining public issues under the democratic processes of

14  the United States may become a minor political party of this

15  state by filing with the department a certificate showing the

16  name of the organization, the names of its current officers,

17  including the members of its executive committee, and a copy

18  of its constitution or bylaws. It shall be the duty of the

19  minor political party to notify the department of any changes

20  in the filing certificate within 5 days of such changes.

21         Section 2.  Subsections (6) and (7) of section 97.053,

22  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

23         97.053  Acceptance of voter registration

24  applications.--

25         (6)  A voter registration application may be accepted

26  as valid only after the department has verified the

27  authenticity or nonexistence of the driver's license number,

28  the Florida identification card number, or the last four

29  digits of the social security number provided by the

30  applicant. If a completed voter registration application has

31  been received by the book-closing deadline but the driver's

                                  5

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1  license number, the Florida identification card number, or the

 2  last four digits of the social security number provided by the

 3  applicant cannot be verified, the applicant shall be notified

 4  that the application is incomplete and that the voter must

 5  provide evidence to the supervisor sufficient to verify the

 6  authenticity of the number provided on the application. If the

 7  voter provides the necessary evidence, the supervisor shall

 8  place the voter's name on the registration rolls as an active

 9  voter. If the voter has not provided the necessary evidence or

10  the number has not otherwise been verified prior to the

11  applicant presenting himself or herself to vote, the applicant

12  shall be provided a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot

13  shall be counted only if the application is verified by the

14  end of the canvassing period or if the applicant presents

15  evidence to the supervisor of elections sufficient to verify

16  the authenticity of the driver's license number, Florida

17  identification card number, or last four digits of the social

18  security number provided on the application no later than 5

19  p.m. of the second third day following the election.

20         (7)  All voter registration applications received by a

21  voter registration official shall be entered into the

22  statewide voter registration system within 13 15 days after

23  receipt. Once entered, the application shall be immediately

24  forwarded to the appropriate supervisor of elections.

25         Section 3.  Section 98.056, Florida Statutes, is

26  created to read:

27         98.056  Registration list maintenance forms.--The

28  department shall prescribe registration list maintenance forms

29  to be used by the supervisors, which must include:

30         (1)  An "address confirmation request," which must

31  contain:

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         (a)  The voter's name and address of legal residence as

 2  shown on the voter registration record.

 3         (b)  A request that the supervisor be informed if

 4  either the name or address of legal residence of the voter is

 5  incorrect.

 6         (2)  An "address change notice," which must be sent by

 7  forwardable mail, including a postage prepaid preaddressed

 8  return form with which the voter may verify or correct his or

 9  her address information.

10         (3)  An "address confirmation final notice," which must

11  be sent by forwardable mail and must contain a postage prepaid

12  preaddressed return form and a statement that:

13         (a)  If the voter has not changed address of legal

14  residence or has changed address of legal residence within the

15  state, the voter should return the return form within 30 days

16  after the date of notice.

17         (b)  If the return form is not returned and the voter

18  does not offer to vote by the second general election

19  thereafter, the voter's name will be removed from the voter

20  registration books.

21         (c)  If the voter has changed address of legal

22  residence to a location outside the state:

23         1.  The voter should return the return form, which will

24  serve as a request to be removed from the registration books;

25  and

26         2.  The voter will be provided with information on how

27  to register in the new jurisdiction in order to be eligible to

28  vote.

29         Section 4.  Subsection (4) of section 98.065, Florida

30  Statutes, is amended to read:

31         98.065  Registration list maintenance programs.--

                                  7

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         (4)(a)  If the supervisor receives change-of-address

 2  information pursuant to the activities conducted in subsection

 3  (2), from jury notices signed by the voter and returned to the

 4  courts, from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor

 5  Vehicles, or from other sources, which information indicates

 6  that the legal address of a registered voter might have

 7  changed within the state, the supervisor must change the

 8  registration records to show the new address and must shall

 9  send the voter by forwardable return-if-undeliverable mail an

10  address change confirmation notice to the address at which the

11  voter was last registered. A supervisor may also send an

12  address confirmation notice to any voter who the supervisor

13  has reason to believe has moved from his or her legal

14  residence.

15         (b)  If the supervisor receives change-of-address

16  information pursuant to the activities conducted in subsection

17  (2), from jury notices signed by the voter and returned to the

18  courts, or from other sources, which information indicates the

19  legal residence of a registered voter might have changed

20  outside the state, the supervisor shall send an address

21  confirmation final notice to the voter. The address

22  confirmation notice shall contain a postage prepaid,

23  preaddressed return form on which:

24         1.  If the voter has changed his or her address of

25  legal residence to a location outside the state, the voter

26  shall mark that the voter's legal residence has changed to a

27  location outside the state. The form shall also include

28  information on how to register in the new state in order to be

29  eligible to vote. The form must be returned within 30 days

30  after the date of the notice. The completed form shall

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1  constitute a request to be removed from the statewide voter

 2  registration system.

 3         2.  If the voter has changed his or her address of

 4  legal residence to a location inside the state, the voter

 5  shall set forth the updated or corrected address and submit

 6  the return form within 30 days after the date of the notice.

 7  The completed form shall constitute a request to update the

 8  statewide voter registration system with the updated or

 9  corrected address information.

10         3.  If the voter has not changed his or her address of

11  legal residence as printed on the address confirmation notice,

12  the voter shall confirm that his or her address of legal

13  residence has not changed and submit the form within 30 days

14  after the date of the notice.

15         (c)  The supervisor must designate as inactive all

16  voters who have been sent an address confirmation final notice

17  and who have not returned the postage prepaid, preaddressed

18  return form within 30 days or for which an address

19  confirmation final notice has been returned as undeliverable.

20  Names on the inactive list may not be used to calculate the

21  number of signatures needed on any petition. A voter on the

22  inactive list may be restored to the active list of voters

23  upon the voter updating his or her registration, requesting an

24  absentee ballot, or appearing to vote. However, if the voter

25  does not update his or her voter registration information,

26  request an absentee ballot, or vote by the second general

27  election after being placed on the inactive list, the voter's

28  name shall be removed from the statewide voter registration

29  system and the voter shall be required to reregister to have

30  his or her name restored to the statewide voter registration

31  system.

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         Section 5.  Subsection (3) of section 98.075, Florida

 2  Statutes, is amended to read:

 3         98.075  Registration records maintenance activities;

 4  ineligibility determinations.--

 5         (3)  DECEASED PERSONS.--The department shall identify

 6  those registered voters who are deceased by comparing

 7  information on the lists of deceased persons received from the

 8  Department of Health as provided in s. 98.093. Upon receipt of

 9  such information through the statewide voter registration

10  system, the supervisor shall remove the name of the registered

11  voter. Additionally, if the supervisor is presented with a

12  copy of a death certificate issued from a bona fide

13  governmental agency or has personal knowledge of the voter's

14  death, the supervisor shall remove the name of the deceased

15  voter from the statewide voter registration system.

16         Section 6.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section

17  99.021, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

18         99.021  Form of candidate oath.--

19         (1)(a)1.  Each candidate, whether a party candidate, a

20  candidate with no party affiliation, or a write-in candidate,

21  in order to qualify for nomination or election to any office

22  other than a judicial office as defined in chapter 105 or a

23  federal office, shall take and subscribe to an oath or

24  affirmation in writing.  A printed copy of the oath or

25  affirmation shall be furnished to the candidate by the officer

26  before whom such candidate seeks to qualify and shall be

27  substantially in the following form:

28  

29  State of Florida

30  County of....

31  

                                  10

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1         Before me, an officer authorized to administer oaths,

 2  personally appeared ...(please print name as you wish it to

 3  appear on the ballot)..., to me well known, who, being sworn,

 4  says that he or she is a candidate for the office of ....;

 5  that he or she is a qualified elector of .... County, Florida;

 6  that he or she is qualified under the Constitution and the

 7  laws of Florida to hold the office to which he or she desires

 8  to be nominated or elected; that he or she has taken the oath

 9  required by ss. 876.05-876.10, Florida Statutes; that he or

10  she has qualified for no other public office in the state, the

11  term of which office or any part thereof runs concurrent with

12  that of the office he or she seeks; and that he or she has

13  resigned from any office from which he or she is required to

14  resign pursuant to s. 99.012, Florida Statutes.

15                                  ...(Signature of candidate)...

16                                                 ...(Address)...

17  

18  Sworn to and subscribed before me this .... day of ....,

19  ...(year)..., at .... County, Florida.

20       ...(Signature and title of officer administering oath)...

21  

22         2.  Each candidate for federal office, whether a party

23  candidate, a candidate with no party affiliation, or a

24  write-in candidate, in order to qualify for nomination or

25  election to office shall take and subscribe to an oath or

26  affirmation in writing. A printed copy of the oath or

27  affirmation shall be furnished to the candidate by the officer

28  before whom such candidate seeks to qualify and shall be

29  substantially in the following form:

30  

31  State of Florida

                                  11

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    Florida Senate - 2007                            CS for SB 958
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 1  County of __________

 2         Before me, an officer authorized to administer oaths,

 3  personally appeared (please print name as you wish it to

 4  appear on the ballot), to me well known, who, being sworn,

 5  says that he or she is a candidate for the office of

 6  __________; that he or she is qualified under the Constitution

 7  and laws of the United States to hold the office to which he

 8  or she desires to be nominated or elected; that he or she has

 9  qualified for no other public office in the state, the term of

10  which office or any part thereof runs concurrent with that of

11  the office he or she seeks; and that he or she has resigned

12  from any office from which he or she is required to resign

13  pursuant to s. 99.012, Florida Statutes.

14                                   __(Signature of candidate) __

15                                                       (Address)

16  

17  Sworn to and subscribed before me this _____ day of ______

18  (year), at _____ County, Florida.

19       ...(Signature and title of officer administering oath)...

20         Section 7.  Section 99.061, Florida Statutes, is

21  amended to read:

22         99.061  Method of qualifying for nomination or election

23  to federal, state, county, or district office.--

24         (1)  The provisions of any special act to the contrary

25  notwithstanding, each person seeking to qualify for nomination

26  or election to a federal, state, or multicounty district

27  office, other than election to a judicial office as defined in

28  chapter 105 or the office of school board member, shall file

29  his or her qualification papers with, and pay the qualifying

30  fee, which shall consist of the filing fee and election

31  assessment, and party assessment, if any has been levied, to,

                                  12

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 1  the Department of State, or qualify by the petition process

 2  pursuant to s. 99.095 with the Department of State, at any

 3  time after noon of the 1st day for qualifying, which shall be

 4  as follows: the 120th day prior to the primary election, but

 5  not later than noon of the 116th day prior to the date of the

 6  primary election, for persons seeking to qualify for

 7  nomination or election to federal office or to the office of

 8  the state attorney or the public defender; and noon of the

 9  71st 50th day prior to the primary election, but not later

10  than noon of the 67th 46th day prior to the date of the

11  primary election, for persons seeking to qualify for

12  nomination or election to a state or multicounty district

13  office, other than the office of the state attorney or the

14  public defender.

15         (2)  The provisions of any special act to the contrary

16  notwithstanding, each person seeking to qualify for nomination

17  or election to a county office, or district or special

18  district office not covered by subsection (1), shall file his

19  or her qualification papers with, and pay the qualifying fee,

20  which shall consist of the filing fee and election assessment,

21  and party assessment, if any has been levied, to, the

22  supervisor of elections of the county, or shall qualify by the

23  petition process pursuant to s. 99.095 with the supervisor of

24  elections, at any time after noon of the 1st day for

25  qualifying, which shall be the 71st 50th day prior to the

26  primary election or special district election, but not later

27  than noon of the 67th 46th day prior to the date of the

28  primary election or special district election. However, if a

29  special district election is held at the same time as the

30  general election, qualifying shall be the 50th day prior to

31  the primary election, but not later than noon of the 46th day

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 1  prior to the date of the primary election. Within 30 days

 2  after the closing of qualifying time, the supervisor of

 3  elections shall remit to the secretary of the state executive

 4  committee of the political party to which the candidate

 5  belongs the amount of the filing fee, two-thirds of which

 6  shall be used to promote the candidacy of candidates for

 7  county offices and the candidacy of members of the

 8  Legislature.

 9         (3)  Notwithstanding the provisions of any special act

10  to the contrary, each person seeking to qualify for election

11  to a special district office shall qualify between noon of the

12  71st day prior to the primary election and noon of the 67th

13  day prior to the date of the primary election. Candidates for

14  single county special districts shall qualify with the

15  supervisor of elections in the county in which the district is

16  located. If the district is a multicounty district, candidates

17  shall qualify with the Department of State. All special

18  district candidates shall qualify by paying a filing fee of

19  $25 or qualify by the petition process pursuant to s. 99.095.

20  Notwithstanding s. 106.021, a candidate who does not collect

21  contributions and whose only expense is the filing fee or

22  signature verification fee is not required to appoint a

23  campaign treasurer or designate a primary campaign depository.

24         (4)(3)(a)  Each person seeking to qualify for election

25  to office as a write-in candidate shall file his or her

26  qualification papers with the respective qualifying officer at

27  any time after noon of the 1st day for qualifying, but not

28  later than noon of the last day of the qualifying period for

29  the office sought.

30         (b)  Any person who is seeking election as a write-in

31  candidate shall not be required to pay a filing fee, election

                                  14

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 1  assessment, or party assessment. A write-in candidate is shall

 2  not be entitled to have his or her name printed on any ballot;

 3  however, space for the write-in candidate's name to be written

 4  in must shall be provided on the general election ballot. A No

 5  person may not qualify as a write-in candidate if the person

 6  has also otherwise qualified for nomination or election to

 7  such office.

 8         (5)(4)  At the time of qualifying for office, each

 9  candidate for a constitutional office shall file a full and

10  public disclosure of financial interests pursuant to s. 8,

11  Art. II of the State Constitution, and a candidate for any

12  other office, including local elective office, shall file a

13  statement of financial interests pursuant to s. 112.3145.

14         (6)(5)  The Department of State shall certify to the

15  supervisor of elections, within 7 days after the closing date

16  for qualifying, the names of all duly qualified candidates for

17  nomination or election who have qualified with the Department

18  of State.

19         (6)  Notwithstanding the qualifying period prescribed

20  in this section, if a candidate has submitted the necessary

21  petitions by the required deadline in order to qualify by the

22  petition process pursuant to s. 99.095 as a candidate for

23  nomination or election and the candidate is notified after the

24  5th day prior to the last day for qualifying that the required

25  number of signatures has been obtained, the candidate is

26  entitled to subscribe to the candidate's oath and file the

27  qualifying papers at any time within 5 days from the date the

28  candidate is notified that the necessary number of signatures

29  has been obtained. Any candidate who qualifies within the time

30  prescribed in this subsection is entitled to have his or her

31  name printed on the ballot.

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 1         (7)(a)  In order for a candidate to be qualified, the

 2  following items must be received by the filing officer by the

 3  end of the qualifying period:

 4         1.  A properly executed check drawn upon the

 5  candidate's campaign account in an amount not less than the

 6  fee required by s. 99.092 or, in lieu thereof, as applicable,

 7  the copy of the notice of obtaining ballot position pursuant

 8  to s. 99.095. The filing fee for a special district candidate

 9  is not required to be drawn upon the candidate's campaign

10  account. If a candidate's check is returned by the bank for

11  any reason, the filing officer shall immediately notify the

12  candidate and the candidate shall, the end of qualifying

13  notwithstanding, have 48 hours from the time such notification

14  is received, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays,

15  to pay the fee with a cashier's check purchased from funds of

16  the campaign account. Failure to pay the fee as provided in

17  this subparagraph shall disqualify the candidate.

18         2.  The candidate's oath required by s. 99.021, which

19  must contain the name of the candidate as it is to appear on

20  the ballot; the office sought, including the district or group

21  number if applicable; and the signature of the candidate, duly

22  acknowledged.

23         3.  The loyalty oath required by s. 876.05, signed by

24  the candidate and duly acknowledged.

25         4.  If the office sought is partisan, the written

26  statement of political party affiliation required by s.

27  99.021(1)(b).

28         5.  The completed form for the appointment of campaign

29  treasurer and designation of campaign depository, as required

30  by s. 106.021.

31  

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 1         6.  The full and public disclosure or statement of

 2  financial interests required by subsection (5) (4). A public

 3  officer who has filed the full and public disclosure or

 4  statement of financial interests with the Commission on Ethics

 5  or the supervisor of elections prior to qualifying for office

 6  may file a copy of that disclosure at the time of qualifying.

 7         (b)  If the filing officer receives qualifying papers

 8  that do not include all items as required by paragraph (a)

 9  prior to the last day of qualifying, the filing officer shall

10  make a reasonable effort to notify the candidate of the

11  missing or incomplete items and shall inform the candidate

12  that all required items must be received by the close of

13  qualifying. A candidate's name as it is to appear on the

14  ballot may not be changed after the end of qualifying.

15         (8)  Notwithstanding the qualifying period prescribed

16  in this section, a qualifying office may accept and hold

17  qualifying papers submitted not earlier than 14 days prior to

18  the beginning of the qualifying period, to be processed and

19  filed during the qualifying period.

20         (9)  Notwithstanding the qualifying period prescribed

21  by this section, in each year in which the Legislature

22  apportions the state, the qualifying period for persons

23  seeking to qualify for nomination or election to federal

24  office shall be between noon of the 71st 57th day prior to the

25  primary election, but not later than noon of the 67th 53rd day

26  prior to the primary election.

27         (10)  The Department of State may prescribe by rule

28  requirements for filing papers to qualify as a candidate under

29  this section.

30         Section 8.  Subsection (1) of section 99.093, Florida

31  Statutes, is amended to read:

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 1         99.093  Municipal candidates; election assessment.--

 2         (1)  Each person seeking to qualify for nomination or

 3  election to a municipal office shall pay, at the time of

 4  qualifying for office, an election assessment.  The election

 5  assessment shall be an amount equal to 1 percent of the annual

 6  salary of the office sought.  Within 30 days after the close

 7  of qualifying, the qualifying officer shall forward all

 8  assessments collected pursuant to this section to the Florida

 9  Elections Commission Department of State for deposit in the

10  Elections Commission Trust Fund.

11         Section 9.  Subsections (2) and (4) of section 99.095,

12  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

13         99.095  Petition process in lieu of a qualifying fee

14  and party assessment.--

15         (2)(a)  Except as provided in paragraph (b), a

16  candidate must shall obtain the number of signatures of voters

17  in the geographical area represented by the office sought

18  equal to at least 1 percent of the total number of registered

19  voters of that geographical area, as shown by the compilation

20  by the department for the immediately last preceding general

21  election. Signatures may not be obtained until the candidate

22  has filed the appointment of campaign treasurer and

23  designation of campaign depository pursuant to s. 106.021.

24         (b)  A candidate for a special district office shall

25  obtain 25 signatures of voters in the geographical area

26  represented by the office sought.

27         (c)(b)  The format of the petition shall be prescribed

28  by the division and shall be used by candidates to reproduce

29  petitions for circulation. If the candidate is running for an

30  office that requires a group or district designation, the

31  petition must indicate that designation and, if it does not,

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 1  the signatures are not valid. A separate petition is required

 2  for each candidate.

 3         (4)(a)  Certifications for candidates for federal,

 4  state, or multicounty district, or multicounty special

 5  district office shall be submitted to the division no later

 6  than the 7th day before the first day of the qualifying period

 7  for the office sought. The division shall determine whether

 8  the required number of signatures has been obtained and shall

 9  notify the candidate.

10         (b)  For candidates for county, or district, or special

11  district office not covered by paragraph (a), the supervisor

12  shall determine whether the required number of signatures has

13  been obtained and shall notify the candidate.

14         Section 10.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section

15  99.097, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

16         99.097  Verification of signatures on petitions.--

17         (3)

18         (b)  If a voter signs a petition and lists an address

19  other than the legal residence where the voter is registered,

20  the petition shall not be counted and the supervisor shall

21  mail to the voter a new voter registration application, along

22  with the reason the new application is being sent treat the

23  signature as if the voter had listed the address where the

24  voter is registered.

25         Section 11.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section

26  100.041, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

27         100.041  Officers chosen at general election.--

28         (2)(a)  Each county commissioner from an odd-numbered

29  district shall be elected at the general election in each year

30  the number of which is a multiple of 4, for a 4-year term

31  commencing on the second Tuesday following such election, and

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 1  each county commissioner from an even-numbered district shall

 2  be elected at the general election in each even-numbered year

 3  the number of which is not a multiple of 4, for a 4-year term

 4  commencing on the second Tuesday following such election. A

 5  county commissioner is "elected" for purposes of this

 6  paragraph on the date that the county canvassing board

 7  certifies the results of the election pursuant to s. 102.151.

 8         Section 12.  Section 100.061, Florida Statutes, is

 9  amended to read:

10         100.061  Primary election.--In each year in which a

11  general election is held, a primary election for nomination of

12  candidates of political parties shall be held on the Tuesday

13  10 9 weeks prior to the general election. The candidate

14  receiving the highest number of votes cast in each contest in

15  the primary election shall be declared nominated for such

16  office. If two or more candidates receive an equal and highest

17  number of votes for the same office, such candidates shall

18  draw lots to determine which candidate is nominated.

19         Section 13.  Section 100.191, Florida Statutes, is

20  amended to read:

21         100.191  General election laws applicable to special

22  elections; returns.--All laws that are applicable to general

23  elections are applicable to special elections or special

24  primary elections to fill a vacancy in office or nomination,

25  except that the canvass of returns by the county canvassing

26  board of each county in which a special election is held shall

27  be made on the day following the election, and the certificate

28  of the result of the canvass shall be immediately forwarded to

29  the Department of State. The Elections Canvassing Commission

30  shall immediately, upon receipt of returns from the county in

31  

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 1  which a special election is held, proceed to canvass the

 2  returns and determine and declare the result thereof.

 3         Section 14.  Section 100.361, Florida Statutes, is

 4  amended to read:

 5         (Substantial rewording of section. See

 6         s. 100.361, F.S., for present text.)

 7         100.361  Municipal recall.--

 8         (1)  APPLICATION; DEFINITION.--Any member of the

 9  governing body of a municipality or charter county,

10  hereinafter referred to in this section as "municipality," may

11  be removed from office by the electors of the municipality.

12  When the official represents a district and is elected only by

13  electors residing in that district, only electors from that

14  district are eligible to sign the petition to recall that

15  official and are entitled to vote in the recall election. When

16  the official represents a district and is elected at large by

17  the electors of the municipality, all electors of the

18  municipality are eligible to sign the petition to recall that

19  official and are entitled to vote in the recall election.

20  Where used in this section, the term "district" shall be

21  construed to mean the area or region of a municipality from

22  which a member of the governing body is elected by the

23  electors from such area or region. Members may be removed from

24  office pursuant to the procedures under this section. This

25  method of removing members of the governing body of a

26  municipality is in addition to such other methods now or

27  hereafter provided by the general laws of this state.

28         (2)  RECALL PETITION.--

29         (a)  Petition content.--A petition must contain the

30  name of the person sought to be recalled and a statement of

31  grounds for recall. The statement of grounds may not exceed

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 1  200 words and the stated grounds are limited solely to those

 2  specified in paragraph (d). If more than one member of the

 3  governing body is sought to be recalled, whether such member

 4  is elected by the electors of a district or by the electors of

 5  the municipality at large, a separate recall petition shall be

 6  prepared for each member sought to be recalled. Upon request,

 7  the content of a petition should be, but is not required to

 8  be, provided by the proponent in alternative formats.

 9         (b)  Requisite signatures.--

10         1.  In a municipality or district of fewer than 500

11  electors, the petition must be signed by at least 50 electors

12  or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of

13  the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal

14  election, whichever is greater.

15         2.  In a municipality or district of 500 or more but

16  fewer than 2,000 registered electors, the petition must be

17  signed by at least 100 electors or by 10 percent of the total

18  number of registered electors of the municipality or district

19  as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

20         3.  In a municipality or district of 2,000 or more but

21  fewer than 5,000 registered electors, the petition must be

22  signed by at least 250 electors or by 10 percent of the total

23  number of registered electors of the municipality or district

24  as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

25         4.  In a municipality or district of 5,000 or more but

26  fewer than 10,000 registered electors, the petition must be

27  signed by at least 500 electors or by 10 percent of the total

28  number of registered electors of the municipality or district

29  as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

30         5.  In a municipality or district of 10,000 or more but

31  fewer than 25,000 registered electors, the petition must be

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 1  signed by at least 1,000 electors or by 10 percent of the

 2  total number of registered electors of the municipality or

 3  district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is

 4  greater.

 5         6.  In a municipality or district of 25,000 or more

 6  registered electors, the petition must be signed by at least

 7  1,000 electors or by 5 percent of the total number of

 8  registered electors of the municipality or district as of the

 9  preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

10  

11  All signatures must be obtained, as provided in paragraph (f),

12  within a period of 30 days, and all signed and dated petition

13  forms must be filed at the same time no later than 30 days

14  after the date the first signature is obtained on the

15  petition.

16         (c)  Recall committee.--Electors of the municipality or

17  district making charges contained in the statement of grounds

18  for recall and those signing the recall petition shall be

19  designated as the "committee." A specific person shall be

20  designated in the petition as chair of the committee to act

21  for the committee. The recall committee and the officer being

22  recalled are subject to chapter 106.

23         (d)  Grounds for recall.--The grounds for removal of

24  elected municipal officials shall, for the purposes of this

25  section, be limited to the following and must be contained in

26  the petition:

27         1.  Malfeasance;

28         2.  Misfeasance;

29         3.  Neglect of duty;

30         4.  Drunkenness;

31         5.  Incompetence;

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 1         6.  Permanent inability to perform official duties; and

 2         7.  Conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.

 3         (e)  Signature process.--Electors of the municipality

 4  or district are eligible to sign the petition. Each elector of

 5  the municipality signing a petition shall sign his or her name

 6  in ink or indelible pencil as registered in the office of the

 7  supervisor of elections and shall state on the petition his or

 8  her place of residence and voting precinct. Each petition must

 9  contain appropriate lines for the signature, printed name, and

10  street address of the elector and an oath, to be executed by a

11  witness thereof, verifying the fact that the witness saw each

12  person sign the counterpart of the petition, that each

13  signature appearing thereon is the genuine signature of the

14  person it purports to be, and that the petition was signed in

15  the presence of the witness on the date indicated.

16         (f)  Filing of signed petitions.--All signed petition

17  forms must be filed at the same time no later than 30 days

18  after the date the first signature is obtained on the

19  petition. The person designated as chair of the committee

20  shall file the signed petition forms with the auditor or clerk

21  of the municipality or charter county, or his or her

22  equivalent, hereinafter referred to as clerk. The petition

23  cannot be amended after it is filed with the clerk.

24         (g)  Verification of signatures.--

25         1.  Immediately after the filing of the petition forms,

26  the clerk shall submit such forms to the county supervisor of

27  elections. No more than 30 days after the date all petition

28  forms are submitted to the supervisor by the clerk, the

29  supervisor shall promptly verify the signatures in accordance

30  with s. 99.097 and determine whether the requisite number of

31  valid signatures has been obtained for the petition. The

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 1  committee seeking verification of the signatures shall pay in

 2  advance to the supervisor the sum of 10 cents for each

 3  signature checked.

 4         2.  Upon filing with the clerk, the petition and all

 5  subsequent papers or forms required or permitted to be filed

 6  with the clerk in connection with this section must, upon

 7  request, be made available in alternative formats by the

 8  clerk.

 9         3.  If the supervisor determines that the petition does

10  not contain the required signatures, the clerk shall, upon

11  receipt of such determination, so certify to the governing

12  body of the municipality or charter county and file the

13  petition without taking further action, and the matter shall

14  be at an end. Additional names may not be added to the

15  petition and the petition may not be used in any other

16  proceeding.

17         4.  If the supervisor determines that the petition has

18  the requisite number of verified and valid signatures, the

19  process in subsection (3) shall be followed.

20         (3)  RECALL PETITION AND DEFENSE.--

21         (a)  Notice.--Upon a determination that the requisite

22  number of signatures has been obtained, the clerk shall, upon

23  receipt of such determination, at once serve upon the person

24  sought to be recalled a certified copy of the petition. Within

25  5 days after service, the person sought to be recalled may

26  file with the clerk a defensive statement of not more than 200

27  words.

28         (b)  Content and preparation.--Within 5 days after the

29  date of receipt of the defensive statement or after the last

30  date a defensive statement could have been filed, the clerk

31  shall prepare a document entitled "Recall Petition and

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 1  Defense." The Recall Petition and Defense must consist of the

 2  recall petition, including the names, addresses, and oaths on

 3  the original petition form, the defensive statement or, if no

 4  defensive statement has been filed, a statement to that

 5  effect, and lines and spaces for the signatures of registered

 6  electors, places of residence, election precinct numbers,

 7  dates of signing, and signatures of witnesses to oaths which

 8  conform to the provisions of paragraph (2)(e). The clerk shall

 9  make sufficient copies of the Recall Petition and Defense to

10  carry the signatures of 30 percent of the registered electors.

11  Upon preparing and making sufficient copies of the Recall

12  Petition and Defense, the clerk shall deliver the copies to

13  the person designated as chair of the committee and take his

14  or her receipt therefor.

15         (c)  Requisite signatures.--Upon receipt of the Recall

16  Petition and Defense, the committee may circulate them to

17  obtain the signatures of 15 percent of the electors. All

18  signatures shall be obtained and all signed petition forms

19  shall be filed with the clerk no later than 60 days after

20  delivery of the Recall Petition and Defense to the chair of

21  the committee.

22         (d)  Signed petitions; request for striking name.--The

23  clerk shall assemble all signed petitions, check to see that

24  each petition is properly verified by the oath of a witness,

25  and submit such petitions to the county supervisor of

26  elections. Any elector who signs a recall petition has the

27  right to demand in writing that his or her name be stricken

28  from the petition. A written demand signed by the elector

29  shall be filed with the clerk and upon receipt of the demand

30  the clerk shall strike the name of the elector from the

31  petition and place his or her initials to the side of the

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 1  signature stricken. However, a signature may not be stricken

 2  after the clerk has delivered the Recall Petition and Defense

 3  to the supervisor for verification of the signatures.

 4         (e)  Verification of signatures.--Within 30 days after

 5  receipt of the signed Recall Petition and Defense, the

 6  supervisor shall determine the number of valid signatures,

 7  purge the names withdrawn, and certify whether 15 percent of

 8  the qualified electors of the municipality have signed the

 9  petitions. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or

10  committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each

11  name checked.

12         (f)  Reporting.--If the supervisor determines that the

13  requisite number of signatures has not been obtained, the

14  clerk shall, upon receipt of the determination, certify such

15  determination to the governing body and retain the petitions.

16  The proceedings shall be terminated, and the petitions may not

17  be used again. If the supervisor determines that at least 15

18  percent of the qualified electors signed the petition, the

19  clerk shall, upon receipt of the determination, serve notice

20  of that determination upon the person sought to be recalled

21  and deliver to the governing body a certificate as to the

22  percentage of qualified electors who signed.

23         (4)  RECALL ELECTION.--If the person designated in the

24  petition files with the clerk, within 5 days after the

25  last-mentioned notice, his or her written resignation, the

26  clerk shall at once notify the governing body of that fact,

27  and the resignation shall be irrevocable. The governing body

28  shall then proceed to fill the vacancy according to the

29  provisions of the appropriate law. In the absence of a

30  resignation, the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which

31  the municipality is located shall fix a day for holding a

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 1  recall election for the removal of those not resigning. Any

 2  such election shall be held not less than 30 days or more than

 3  60 days after the expiration of the 5-day period

 4  last-mentioned and at the same time as any other general or

 5  special election held within the period; but if no such

 6  election is to be held within that period, the judge shall

 7  call a special recall election to be held within the period

 8  aforesaid.

 9         (5)  BALLOTS.--The ballots at the recall election shall

10  conform to the following: With respect to each person whose

11  removal is sought, the question shall be submitted: "Shall

12  _____ be removed from the office of _____ by recall?"

13  Immediately following each question there shall be printed on

14  the ballots the two propositions in the order here set forth:

15  " (name of person) should be removed from office."

16  " (name of person) should not be removed from office."

17         (6)  FILLING OF VACANCIES; SPECIAL ELECTIONS.--

18         (a)  If an election is held for the recall of members

19  elected only at large, candidates to succeed them for the

20  unexpired terms shall be voted upon at the same election and

21  shall be elected in the same manner as provided by the

22  appropriate law for the election of candidates at general

23  elections. Candidates shall not be elected to succeed any

24  particular member. If only one member is removed, the

25  candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be

26  declared elected to fill the vacancy. If more than one member

27  is removed, candidates equal in number to the number of

28  members removed shall be declared elected to fill the

29  vacancies; and, among the successful candidates, those

30  receiving the greatest number of votes shall be declared

31  elected for the longest terms. Cases of ties, and all other

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 1  matters not specially provided for in this section, shall be

 2  determined by the rules governing elections generally.

 3         (b)  If an election is held for the recall of members

 4  elected only from districts, candidates to succeed them for

 5  the unexpired terms shall be voted upon at a special election

 6  called by the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the

 7  districts are located not less than 30 days or more than 60

 8  days after the expiration of the recall election. The

 9  qualifying period, for purposes of this section, shall be

10  established by the chief judge of the judicial circuit after

11  consultation with the clerk. Any candidate seeking election to

12  fill the unexpired term of a recalled district municipal

13  official must reside in the district represented by the

14  recalled official and qualify for office in the manner

15  required by law. Each candidate receiving the highest number

16  of votes for each office in the special district recall

17  election shall be declared elected to fill the unexpired term

18  of the recalled official. Candidates seeking election to fill

19  a vacancy created by the removal of a municipal official are

20  subject to the provisions of chapter 106.

21         (c)  When an election is held for the recall of members

22  of the governing body composed of both members elected at

23  large and from districts, candidates to succeed them for the

24  unexpired terms shall be voted upon at a special election as

25  provided in paragraph (b).

26         (d)  However, in any recall election held pursuant to

27  paragraph (b) or paragraph (c), if only one member is voted to

28  be removed from office, the vacancy created by the recall

29  shall be filled by the governing body according to the

30  provisions of the appropriate law for filling vacancies.

31  

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 1         (7)  EFFECT OF RESIGNATIONS.--If the member of the

 2  governing body being recalled resigns from office prior to the

 3  recall election, the remaining members shall fill the vacancy

 4  created according to the appropriate law for filling

 5  vacancies. If all of the members of the governing body are

 6  sought to be recalled and all of the members resign prior to

 7  the recall election, the recall election shall be canceled,

 8  and a special election shall be called to fill the unexpired

 9  terms of the resigning members. If all of the members of the

10  governing body are sought to be recalled and any of the

11  members resign prior to the recall election, the proceedings

12  for the recall of members not resigning and the election of

13  successors to fill the unexpired terms shall continue and have

14  the same effect as though there had been no resignation.

15         (8)  WHEN PETITION MAY BE FILED.--A petition to recall

16  any member of the governing body of a municipality may not be

17  filed until the member has served one-fourth of his or her

18  term of office. A person removed by a recall, or resigning

19  after a petition has been filed against him or her, is not

20  eligible to be appointed to the governing body within a period

21  of 2 years after the date of such recall or resignation.

22         (9)  RETENTION OF PETITION.--The clerk shall preserve

23  in his or her office all papers comprising or connected with a

24  petition for recall for a period of 2 years after the papers

25  were filed.

26         (10)  OFFENSES RELATING TO PETITIONS.--A person may not

27  impersonate another, purposely write his or her name or

28  residence falsely in the signing of any petition for recall or

29  forge any name thereto, or sign any paper with knowledge that

30  he or she is not a qualified elector of the municipality. A

31  person may not employ or pay another to accept employment or

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 1  payment for circulating or witnessing a recall petition. Any

 2  person violating this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the

 3  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.

 4  775.083.

 5         (11)  INTENT.--It is the intent of the Legislature that

 6  the recall procedures provided in this section be uniform

 7  statewide. Therefore, all provisions of a municipal charter or

 8  special law which are contrary to the provisions of this

 9  section are repealed to the extent of that conflict.

10         (12)  PROVISIONS APPLICABLE.--This section applies

11  regardless of whether a municipality or charter county has

12  adopted recall provisions.

13         Section 15.  Section 101.041, Florida Statutes, is

14  amended to read:

15         101.041  Secret voting.--In all elections held on any

16  subject which may be submitted to a vote, and for all or any

17  state, county, district, or municipal officers, the voting

18  shall be by secret, official ballot printed and distributed as

19  provided by this code, and no vote shall be received or

20  counted in any election, except as prescribed by this code.

21         Section 16.  Subsection (1) of section 101.048, Florida

22  Statutes, is amended to read:

23         101.048  Provisional ballots.--

24         (1)  At all elections, a voter claiming to be properly

25  registered in the state and eligible to vote at the precinct

26  in the election but whose eligibility cannot be determined, a

27  person whom an election official asserts is not eligible, and

28  other persons specified in the code shall be entitled to vote

29  a provisional ballot. Once voted, the provisional ballot shall

30  be placed in a secrecy envelope and thereafter sealed in a

31  provisional ballot envelope. The provisional ballot shall be

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 1  deposited in a ballot box. All provisional ballots shall

 2  remain sealed in their envelopes for return to the supervisor

 3  of elections. The department shall prescribe the form of the

 4  provisional ballot envelope. A person casting a provisional

 5  ballot shall have the right to present written evidence

 6  supporting his or her eligibility to vote to the supervisor of

 7  elections by not later than 5 p.m. on the second third day

 8  following the election.

 9         Section 17.  Subsection (3) of section 101.111, Florida

10  Statutes, is amended, and subsection (4) of that section is

11  reenacted, to read:

12         101.111  Person desiring to vote may be challenged;

13  challenger to execute oath; oath of person challenged;

14  determination of challenge.--

15         (3)  Any elector or poll watcher may challenge the

16  right of any voter to vote not sooner than 30 days before an

17  election by filing a completed copy of the oath contained in

18  subsection (1) to the supervisor of election's office. The

19  supervisor shall provide the election board in the challenged

20  voter's precinct with a copy of the challenge. The challenged

21  voter shall be permitted to cast a provisional ballot.

22         (4)  Any elector or poll watcher filing a frivolous

23  challenge of any person's right to vote commits a misdemeanor

24  of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or

25  s. 775.083; however, electors or poll watchers shall not be

26  subject to liability for any action taken in good faith and in

27  furtherance of any activity or duty permitted of such electors

28  or poll watchers by law. Each instance where any elector or

29  poll watcher files a frivolous challenge of any person's right

30  to vote constitutes a separate offense.

31  

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 1         Section 18.  Subsection (1) of section 101.51, Florida

 2  Statutes, is amended to read:

 3         101.51  Electors to occupy booth alone.--

 4         (1)  When the elector presents himself or herself to

 5  vote, the election official shall ascertain whether the

 6  elector's name is upon the register of electors, and, if the

 7  elector's name appears and no challenge interposes, or, if

 8  interposed, be not sustained, one of the election officials

 9  stationed at the entrance shall announce the name of the

10  elector and permit him or her to enter the booth or

11  compartment to cast his or her vote, allowing only one elector

12  at a time to pass through to vote. An elector, while casting

13  his or her ballot, may not occupy a booth or compartment

14  already occupied or speak with anyone, except as provided by

15  s. 101.051.

16         Section 19.  Subsections (6) and (8) of section

17  101.6103, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

18         101.6103  Mail ballot election procedure.--

19         (6)  The canvassing board may begin the canvassing of

20  mail ballots at 7 a.m. on the sixth fourth day before the

21  election, including processing the ballots through the

22  tabulating equipment. However, results may not be released

23  until after 7 p.m. on election day. Any canvassing board

24  member or election employee who releases any result before 7

25  p.m. on election day commits a felony of the third degree,

26  punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.

27  775.084.

28         (8)  Effective July 1, 2005, A ballot that otherwise

29  satisfies the requirements of subsection (5) shall be counted

30  even if the elector dies after mailing the ballot but before

31  

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 1  election day, as long as, prior to the death of the voter, the

 2  ballot was:

 3         (a)  Postmarked by the United States Postal Service;

 4         (b)  Date-stamped with a verifiable tracking number by

 5  common carrier; or

 6         (c)  Already in the possession of the supervisor of

 7  elections.

 8         Section 20.  Subsections (1) and (4) of section 101.62,

 9  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

10         101.62  Request for absentee ballots.--

11         (1)(a)  The supervisor may accept a request for an

12  absentee ballot from an elector in person or in writing.

13  Except as provided in s. 101.694, one request shall be deemed

14  sufficient to receive an absentee ballot for all elections

15  through the next two regularly scheduled general elections

16  which are held within a calendar year, unless the elector or

17  the elector's designee indicates at the time the request is

18  made the elections for which the elector desires to receive an

19  absentee ballot. Such request may be considered canceled when

20  any first-class mail sent by the supervisor to the elector is

21  returned as undeliverable.

22         (b)  The supervisor may accept a written or telephonic

23  request for an absentee ballot from the elector, or, if

24  directly instructed by the elector, a member of the elector's

25  immediate family, or the elector's legal guardian. For

26  purposes of this section, the term "immediate family" has the

27  same meaning as specified in paragraph (4)(b). The person

28  making the request must disclose:

29         1.  The name of the elector for whom the ballot is

30  requested;

31         2.  The elector's address;

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 1         3.  The elector's date of birth;

 2         4.  The requester's name;

 3         5.  The requester's address;

 4         6.  The requester's driver's license number, if

 5  available;

 6         7.  The requester's relationship to the elector; and

 7         8.  The requester's signature (written requests only).

 8         (4)(a)  To each absent qualified elector overseas who

 9  has requested an absentee ballot, the supervisor of elections

10  shall mail an absentee ballot not less fewer than 35 days

11  before the primary election and not less than 45 days before

12  the or general election.

13         (b)  The supervisor shall provide an absentee ballot to

14  each elector by whom a request for that ballot has been made

15  by one of the following means:

16         1.  By nonforwardable, return-if-undeliverable mail to

17  the elector's current mailing address on file with the

18  supervisor, unless the elector specifies in the request that:

19         a.  The elector is absent from the county and does not

20  plan to return before the day of the election;

21         b.  The elector is temporarily unable to occupy the

22  residence because of hurricane, tornado, flood, fire, or other

23  emergency or natural disaster; or

24         c.  The elector is in a hospital, assisted-living

25  facility, nursing home, short-term medical or rehabilitation

26  facility, or correctional facility,

27  

28  in which case the supervisor shall mail the ballot by

29  nonforwardable, return-if-undeliverable mail to any other

30  address the elector specifies in the request.

31  

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 1         2.  By forwardable mail to voters who are entitled to

 2  vote by absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas

 3  Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

 4         3.  By personal delivery before 7 p.m. on election day

 5  to the elector, upon presentation of the identification

 6  required in s. 101.043 s. 101.657.

 7         4.  By delivery to a designee on election day or up to

 8  5 4 days prior to the day of an election. Any elector may

 9  designate in writing a person to pick up the ballot for the

10  elector; however, the person designated may not pick up more

11  than two absentee ballots per election, other than the

12  designee's own ballot, except that additional ballots may be

13  picked up for members of the designee's immediate family. For

14  purposes of this section, "immediate family" means the

15  designee's spouse or the parent, child, grandparent, or

16  sibling of the designee or of the designee's spouse. The

17  designee shall provide to the supervisor the written

18  authorization by the elector and a picture identification of

19  the designee and must complete an affidavit. The designee

20  shall state in the affidavit that the designee is authorized

21  by the elector to pick up that ballot and shall indicate if

22  the elector is a member of the designee's immediate family

23  and, if so, the relationship. The department shall prescribe

24  the form of the affidavit. If the supervisor is satisfied that

25  the designee is authorized to pick up the ballot and that the

26  signature of the elector on the written authorization matches

27  the signature of the elector on file, the supervisor shall

28  give the ballot to that designee for delivery to the elector.

29         Section 21.  Subsection (2) of section 101.68, Florida

30  Statutes, is amended to read:

31         101.68  Canvassing of absentee ballot.--

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 1         (2)(a)  The county canvassing board may begin the

 2  canvassing of absentee ballots at 7 a.m. on the sixth fourth

 3  day before the election, but not later than noon on the day

 4  following the election. In addition, for any county using

 5  electronic tabulating equipment, the processing of absentee

 6  ballots through such tabulating equipment may begin at 7 a.m.

 7  on the sixth fourth day before the election. However,

 8  notwithstanding any such authorization to begin canvassing or

 9  otherwise processing absentee ballots early, no result shall

10  be released until after the closing of the polls in that

11  county on election day. Any supervisor of elections, deputy

12  supervisor of elections, canvassing board member, election

13  board member, or election employee who releases the results of

14  a canvassing or processing of absentee ballots prior to the

15  closing of the polls in that county on election day commits a

16  felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.

17  775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

18         (b)  To ensure that all absentee ballots to be counted

19  by the canvassing board are accounted for, the canvassing

20  board shall compare the number of ballots in its possession

21  with the number of requests for ballots received to be counted

22  according to the supervisor's file or list.

23         (c)1.  The canvassing board shall, if the supervisor

24  has not already done so, compare the signature of the elector

25  on the voter's certificate with the signature of the elector

26  in the registration books to see that the elector is duly

27  registered in the county and to determine the legality of that

28  absentee ballot. Effective July 1, 2005, The ballot of an

29  elector who casts an absentee ballot shall be counted even if

30  the elector dies on or before election day, as long as, prior

31  to the death of the voter, the ballot was postmarked by the

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 1  United States Postal Service, date-stamped with a verifiable

 2  tracking number by common carrier, or already in the

 3  possession of the supervisor of elections. An absentee ballot

 4  shall be considered illegal if it does not include the

 5  signature of the elector, as shown by the registration

 6  records. However, an absentee ballot shall not be considered

 7  illegal if the signature of the elector does not cross the

 8  seal of the mailing envelope. If the canvassing board

 9  determines that any ballot is illegal, a member of the board

10  shall, without opening the envelope, mark across the face of

11  the envelope: "rejected as illegal." The envelope and the

12  ballot contained therein shall be preserved in the manner that

13  official ballots voted are preserved.

14         2.  If any elector or candidate present believes that

15  an absentee ballot is illegal due to a defect apparent on the

16  voter's certificate, he or she may, at any time before the

17  ballot is removed from the envelope, file with the canvassing

18  board a protest against the canvass of that ballot, specifying

19  the precinct, the ballot, and the reason he or she believes

20  the ballot to be illegal. A challenge based upon a defect in

21  the voter's certificate may not be accepted after the ballot

22  has been removed from the mailing envelope.

23         (d)  The canvassing board shall record the ballot upon

24  the proper record, unless the ballot has been previously

25  recorded by the supervisor. The mailing envelopes shall be

26  opened and the secrecy envelopes shall be mixed so as to make

27  it impossible to determine which secrecy envelope came out of

28  which signed mailing envelope; however, in any county in which

29  an electronic or electromechanical voting system is used, the

30  ballots may be sorted by ballot styles and the mailing

31  envelopes may be opened and the secrecy envelopes mixed

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 1  separately for each ballot style. The votes on absentee

 2  ballots shall be included in the total vote of the county.

 3         Section 22.  Subsection (2) of section 101.733, Florida

 4  Statutes, is amended and subsection (4) is added to that

 5  section, to read:

 6         101.733  Election emergency; purpose; elections

 7  emergency contingency plan.--Because of the existing and

 8  continuing possibility of an emergency or common disaster

 9  occurring before or during a regularly scheduled or special

10  election, and in order to ensure maximum citizen participation

11  in the electoral process and provide a safe and orderly

12  procedure for persons seeking to exercise their right to vote,

13  generally to minimize to whatever degree possible a person's

14  exposure to danger during declared states of emergency, and to

15  protect the integrity of the electoral process, it is hereby

16  found and declared to be necessary to designate a procedure

17  for the emergency suspension or delay and rescheduling of

18  elections.

19         (2)  The Governor, upon consultation with the Secretary

20  of State, shall reschedule any election suspended or delayed

21  due to an emergency. The election shall be held within 10 days

22  after the date of the suspended or delayed election or as soon

23  thereafter as is practicable. Notice of the election shall be

24  provided in any reasonable manner, including, where

25  practicable, publication published at least once in a

26  newspaper of general circulation in the affected area and,

27  where practicable, broadcast as a public service announcement

28  on radio and television stations at least 1 week prior to the

29  date the election is to be held.

30         (4)  Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 101.6102, in

31  lieu of the suspension or delay of an election in cases where

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 1  the situation warrants it, the Governor may provide for

 2  holding the election by mail. The Department of State shall

 3  adopt rules to provide for the timelines and procedures when

 4  an emergency exists for which the Governor has called an

 5  all-mail ballot election.

 6         Section 23.  Subsection (7) of section 102.014, Florida

 7  Statutes, is amended to read:

 8         102.014  Poll worker recruitment and training.--

 9         (7)  The Department of State shall develop a mandatory,

10  statewide, and uniform program for training poll workers on

11  issues of etiquette and sensitivity with respect to voters

12  having a disability. The program must consist of approximately

13  1 hour of the required number of hours set forth in paragraph

14  (4)(a). The program must be conducted locally by each

15  supervisor of elections, who shall periodically certify to the

16  Department of State whether each poll worker has completed the

17  program prior to working during the election cycle. The

18  supervisor of elections shall contract with a recognized

19  disability-related organization, such as a center for

20  independent living, family network on disabilities, deaf

21  service bureau, or other such organization, to develop and

22  assist with training the trainers in the disability

23  sensitivity programs. The program must include actual

24  demonstrations of obstacles confronted by disabled persons

25  during the voting process, including obtaining access to the

26  polling place, traveling through the polling area, and using

27  the voting system.

28         Section 24.  Subsection (2) of section 102.112, Florida

29  Statutes, is amended to read:

30         102.112  Deadline for submission of county returns to

31  the Department of State.--

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 1         (2)  Returns must be filed by 5 p.m. on the 7th day

 2  following a primary election and by noon 5 p.m. on the 12th

 3  11th day following the general election. However, the

 4  Department of State may correct typographical errors,

 5  including the transposition of numbers, in any returns

 6  submitted to the Department of State pursuant to s.

 7  102.111(1).

 8         Section 25.  Present subsections (4) through (9) of

 9  section 102.141, Florida Statutes, are renumbered as

10  subsections (5) through (10), respectively, present

11  subsections (4) and (6) of that section are amended, and a new

12  subsection (4) is added to that section to read:

13         102.141  County canvassing board; duties.--

14         (4)  The canvassing board shall submit preliminary

15  returns on election night to the Department of State in a

16  format provided by the department.

17         (5)(4)  The canvassing board shall submit on forms or

18  in formats provided by the division unofficial returns to the

19  Department of State for each federal, statewide, state, or

20  multicounty office or ballot measure no later than noon on the

21  third day after any primary election and no later than noon on

22  the fourth fifth day after any general or other election. Such

23  returns shall include the canvass of all ballots as required

24  by subsection (2), except for provisional ballots, which

25  returns shall be reported at the time required for official

26  returns pursuant to s. 102.112(2).

27         (7)(6)  If the unofficial returns reflect that a

28  candidate for any office was defeated or eliminated by

29  one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast for such

30  office, that a candidate for retention to a judicial office

31  was retained or not retained by one-half of a percent or less

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 1  of the votes cast on the question of retention, or that a

 2  measure appearing on the ballot was approved or rejected by

 3  one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast on such

 4  measure, the board responsible for certifying the results of

 5  the vote on such race or measure shall order a recount of the

 6  votes cast with respect to such office or measure. The

 7  Elections Canvassing Commission is the board responsible for

 8  ordering federal, state, and multicounty recounts. A recount

 9  need not be ordered with respect to the returns for any

10  office, however, if the candidate or candidates defeated or

11  eliminated from contention for such office by one-half of a

12  percent or less of the votes cast for such office request in

13  writing that a recount not be made.

14         (a)  Each canvassing board responsible for conducting a

15  recount shall put each marksense ballot through automatic

16  tabulating equipment and determine whether the returns

17  correctly reflect the votes cast. If any marksense ballot is

18  physically damaged so that it cannot be properly counted by

19  the automatic tabulating equipment during the recount, a true

20  duplicate shall be made of the damaged ballot pursuant to the

21  procedures in s. 101.5614(5). Immediately before the start of

22  the recount, a test of the tabulating equipment shall be

23  conducted as provided in s. 101.5612. If the test indicates no

24  error, the recount tabulation of the ballots cast shall be

25  presumed correct and such votes shall be canvassed

26  accordingly. If an error is detected, the cause therefor shall

27  be ascertained and corrected and the recount repeated, as

28  necessary. The canvassing board shall immediately report the

29  error, along with the cause of the error and the corrective

30  measures being taken, to the Department of State. No later

31  than 11 days after the election, the canvassing board shall

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 1  file a separate incident report with the Department of State,

 2  detailing the resolution of the matter and identifying any

 3  measures that will avoid a future recurrence of the error.

 4         (b)  Each canvassing board responsible for conducting a

 5  recount where touchscreen ballots were used shall examine the

 6  counters on the precinct tabulators to ensure that the total

 7  of the returns on the precinct tabulators equals the overall

 8  election return. If there is a discrepancy between the overall

 9  election return and the counters of the precinct tabulators,

10  the counters of the precinct tabulators shall be presumed

11  correct and such votes shall be canvassed accordingly.

12         (c)  The canvassing board shall submit on forms or in

13  formats provided by the division a second set of unofficial

14  returns to the Department of State for each federal,

15  statewide, state, or multicounty office or ballot measure no

16  later than 3 p.m. on the fifth day after any primary election

17  and no later than 3 p.m. on the ninth eighth day after any

18  general election in which a recount was conducted pursuant to

19  this subsection. If the canvassing board is unable to complete

20  the recount prescribed in this subsection by the deadline, the

21  second set of unofficial returns submitted by the canvassing

22  board shall be identical to the initial unofficial returns and

23  the submission shall also include a detailed explanation of

24  why it was unable to timely complete the recount. However, the

25  canvassing board shall complete the recount prescribed in this

26  subsection, along with any manual recount prescribed in s.

27  102.166, and certify election returns in accordance with the

28  requirements of this chapter.

29         (d)  The Department of State shall adopt detailed rules

30  prescribing additional recount procedures for each certified

31  

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 1  voting system, which shall be uniform to the extent

 2  practicable.

 3         Section 26.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of section

 4  102.166, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

 5         102.166  Manual recounts.--

 6         (5)  Procedures for a manual recount are as follows:

 7         (b)  Each duplicate ballot prepared pursuant to s.

 8  101.5614(5) or s. 102.141(7) s. 102.141(6) shall be compared

 9  with the original ballot to ensure the correctness of the

10  duplicate.

11         Section 27.  Section 103.022, Florida Statutes, is

12  amended to read:

13         103.022  Write-in candidates for President and Vice

14  President.--Persons seeking to qualify for election as

15  write-in candidates for President and Vice President of the

16  United States may have a blank space provided on the general

17  election ballot for their names to be written in by filing an

18  oath with the Department of State on or before September 1st

19  at any time after the 57th day, but before noon of the 49th

20  day, prior to the date of the primary election in the year in

21  which a presidential election is held. The Department of State

22  shall prescribe the form to be used in administering the oath.

23  The candidates shall file with the department on or before

24  September 1st in the presidential election year a certificate

25  naming the required number of persons to serve as electors.

26  Such write-in candidates shall not be entitled to have their

27  names on the ballot.

28         Section 28.  Section 103.085, Florida Statutes, is

29  created to read:

30         103.085  Minor political parties.--Any group of

31  citizens organized for the general purposes of electing to

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 1  office qualified persons and determining public issues under

 2  the democratic processes of the United States may become a

 3  minor political party of this state by filing with the

 4  department a certificate showing the name of the organization,

 5  the names of its current officers, including the members of

 6  its executive committee, and a copy of its constitution or

 7  bylaws. It shall be the duty of the minor political party to

 8  notify the department of any changes in the filing certificate

 9  within 5 days of such changes. The Division of Elections may

10  adopt rules to prescribe the manner in which a minor political

11  party's registration may be canceled for failure to file

12  reports or information required pursuant to the Florida

13  Election Code. Such rules shall, at a minimum, provide for

14  notice that explains the facts and conduct that warrant the

15  intended action.

16         Section 29.  Subsection (4) of section 103.091, Florida

17  Statutes, is amended to read:

18         103.091  Political parties.--

19         (4)  Any political party other than a minor political

20  party may by rule provide for the membership of its state or

21  county executive committee to be elected for 4-year terms at

22  the primary election in each year a presidential election is

23  held. The terms shall commence on the first day of the month

24  following each presidential general election; but the names of

25  candidates for political party offices shall not be placed on

26  the ballot at any other election. The results of such election

27  shall be determined by a plurality of the votes cast. In such

28  event, electors seeking to qualify for such office shall do so

29  with the Department of State or supervisor of elections not

30  earlier than noon of the 71st 57th day, or later than noon of

31  the 67th 53rd day, preceding the primary election. The

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 1  outgoing chair of each county executive committee shall,

 2  within 30 days after the committee members take office, hold

 3  an organizational meeting of all newly elected members for the

 4  purpose of electing officers. The chair of each state

 5  executive committee shall, within 60 days after the committee

 6  members take office, hold an organizational meeting of all

 7  newly elected members for the purpose of electing officers.

 8         Section 30.  Subsection (1) of section 105.031, Florida

 9  Statutes, is amended to read:

10         105.031  Qualification; filing fee; candidate's oath;

11  items required to be filed.--

12         (1)  TIME OF QUALIFYING.--Except for candidates for

13  judicial office, nonpartisan candidates for multicounty office

14  shall qualify with the Division of Elections of the Department

15  of State and nonpartisan candidates for countywide or less

16  than countywide office shall qualify with the supervisor of

17  elections. Candidates for judicial office other than the

18  office of county court judge shall qualify with the Division

19  of Elections of the Department of State, and candidates for

20  the office of county court judge shall qualify with the

21  supervisor of elections of the county. Candidates for judicial

22  office shall qualify no earlier than noon of the 120th day,

23  and no later than noon of the 116th day, before the primary

24  election. Candidates for the office of school board member

25  shall qualify no earlier than noon of the 71st 50th day, and

26  no later than noon of the 67th 46th day, before the primary

27  election. Filing shall be on forms provided for that purpose

28  by the Division of Elections and furnished by the appropriate

29  qualifying officer. Any person seeking to qualify by the

30  petition process, as set forth in s. 105.035, who has

31  submitted the necessary petitions by the required deadline and

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 1  is notified after the fifth day prior to the last day for

 2  qualifying that the required number of signatures has been

 3  obtained, shall be entitled to subscribe to the candidate's

 4  oath and file the qualifying papers at any time within 5 days

 5  from the date he or she is notified that the necessary number

 6  of signatures has been obtained. Any person other than a

 7  write-in candidate who qualifies within the time prescribed in

 8  this subsection shall be entitled to have his or her name

 9  printed on the ballot.

10         Section 31.  Subsection (1) of section 106.07, Florida

11  Statutes, is amended to read:

12         106.07  Reports; certification and filing.--

13         (1)  Each campaign treasurer designated by a candidate

14  or political committee pursuant to s. 106.021 shall file

15  regular reports of all contributions received, and all

16  expenditures made, by or on behalf of such candidate or

17  political committee.  Reports shall be filed on the 10th day

18  following the end of each calendar quarter from the time the

19  campaign treasurer is appointed, except that, if the 10th day

20  following the end of a calendar quarter occurs on a Saturday,

21  Sunday, or legal holiday, the report shall be filed on the

22  next following day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal

23  holiday.  Quarterly reports shall include all contributions

24  received and expenditures made during the calendar quarter

25  which have not otherwise been reported pursuant to this

26  section.

27         (a)  Except as provided in paragraph (b), Following the

28  last day of qualifying for office, the reports shall also be

29  filed on the 32nd, 18th, and 4th days immediately preceding

30  the primary and on the 46th, 32nd, 18th, and 4th days

31  immediately preceding the election, for a candidate who is

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 1  opposed in seeking nomination or election to any office, for a

 2  political committee, or for a committee of continuous

 3  existence. Following the primary, reports shall be filed on

 4  the 46th, 32nd, 18th, and 4th days immediately preceding the

 5  general election for a candidate who is opposed in seeking

 6  election to any office, for a political committee, or for a

 7  committee of continuous existence.

 8         (b)  In addition Following the last day of qualifying

 9  for office, any statewide candidate who has requested to

10  receive contributions from the Election Campaign Financing

11  Trust Fund or any statewide candidate in a race with a

12  candidate who has requested to receive contributions from the

13  trust fund shall file reports on the 4th, 11th, and 18th,

14  25th, and 32nd days prior to the primary election, and on the

15  4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 32nd, 39th, 46th, and 53rd days prior

16  to the general election.

17         (c)  Following the last day of qualifying for office,

18  any unopposed candidate need only file a report within 90 days

19  after the date such candidate became unopposed.  Such report

20  shall contain all previously unreported contributions and

21  expenditures as required by this section and shall reflect

22  disposition of funds as required by s. 106.141.

23         (d)1.  When a special election is called to fill a

24  vacancy in office, all political committees and committees of

25  continuous existence making contributions or expenditures to

26  influence the results of such special election shall file

27  campaign treasurers' reports with the filing officer on the

28  dates set by the Department of State pursuant to s. 100.111.

29         2.  When an election is called for an issue to appear

30  on the ballot at a time when no candidates are scheduled to

31  appear on the ballot, all political committees making

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 1  contributions or expenditures in support of or in opposition

 2  to such issue shall file reports on the 18th and 4th days

 3  prior to such election.

 4         (e)  The filing officer shall provide each candidate

 5  with a schedule designating the beginning and end of reporting

 6  periods as well as the corresponding designated due dates.

 7         Section 32.  Subsection (4) of section 106.35, Florida

 8  Statutes, is amended to read:

 9         106.35  Distribution of funds.--

10         (4)  Distribution of funds shall be made beginning on

11  the 32nd day prior to the primary within 7 days after the

12  close of qualifying and every 7 days thereafter.

13         Section 33.  Section 112.51, Florida Statutes, is

14  amended to read:

15         112.51  Municipal officers; suspension; removal from

16  office.--

17         (1)  By executive order stating the grounds for the

18  suspension and filed with the Secretary of State, the Governor

19  may suspend from office any elected or appointed municipal

20  official for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty,

21  habitual drunkenness, incompetence, or permanent inability to

22  perform official duties.

23         (2)  Whenever any elected or appointed municipal

24  official is arrested for a felony or for a misdemeanor related

25  to the duties of office or is indicted or informed against for

26  the commission of a federal felony or misdemeanor or state

27  felony or misdemeanor, the Governor has the power to suspend

28  such municipal official from office.

29         (3)  The suspension of such official by the Governor

30  creates a temporary vacancy in such office during the

31  suspension. Any temporary vacancy in office created by

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 1  suspension of an official under the provisions of this section

 2  shall be filled by a temporary appointment to such office for

 3  the period of the suspension.  Such temporary appointment

 4  shall be made in the same manner and by the same authority by

 5  which a permanent vacancy in such office is filled as provided

 6  by law.  If no provision for filling a permanent vacancy in

 7  such office is provided by law, the temporary appointment

 8  shall be made by the Governor.

 9         (4)  No municipal official who has been suspended from

10  office under this section may perform any official act, duty,

11  or function during his or her suspension; receive any pay or

12  allowance during his or her suspension; or be entitled to any

13  of the emoluments or privileges of his or her office during

14  suspension.

15         (5)  If the municipal official is convicted of any of

16  the charges contained in the indictment or information by

17  reason of which he or she was suspended under the provisions

18  of this section, the Governor shall remove such municipal

19  official from office. If a person was selected to fill the

20  temporary vacancy pursuant to subsection (3), that person

21  shall serve the remaining balance, if any, of the removed

22  official's term of office. Otherwise, any vacancy created by

23  the removal shall be filled as provided by law. For the

24  purposes of this section, any person who pleads guilty or nolo

25  contendere or who is found guilty shall be deemed to have been

26  convicted, notwithstanding a suspension of sentence or a

27  withholding of adjudication.

28         (6)  If the municipal official is acquitted or found

29  not guilty or is otherwise cleared of the charges which were

30  the basis of the arrest, indictment, or information by reason

31  of which he or she was suspended under the provisions of this

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 1  section, then the Governor shall forthwith revoke the

 2  suspension and restore such municipal official to office; and

 3  the official shall be entitled to and be paid full back pay

 4  and such other emoluments or allowances to which he or she

 5  would have been entitled for the full period of time of the

 6  suspension.  If, during the suspension, the term of office of

 7  the municipal official expires and a successor is either

 8  appointed or elected, such back pay, emoluments, or allowances

 9  shall only be paid for the duration of the term of office

10  during which the municipal official was suspended under the

11  provisions of this section, and he or she shall not be

12  reinstated.

13         Section 34.  Subsections (2) and (3) of section

14  189.405, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

15         189.405  Elections; general requirements and

16  procedures; education programs.--

17         (2)(a)  Any independent special district located

18  entirely in a single county may provide for the conduct of

19  district elections by the supervisor of elections for that

20  county.  Any independent special district that conducts its

21  elections through the office of the supervisor shall make

22  election procedures consistent with the Florida Election Code.

23         (b)  Any independent special district not conducting

24  district elections through the supervisor of elections shall

25  report to the supervisor in a timely manner the purpose, date,

26  authorization, procedures, and results of each election

27  conducted by the district.

28         (c)  A candidate for a position on a governing board of

29  a single-county special district that has its elections

30  conducted by the supervisor of elections shall qualify for the

31  office with the county supervisor of elections in whose

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 1  jurisdiction the district is located. Elections for governing

 2  board members elected by registered electors shall be

 3  nonpartisan, except when partisan elections are specified by a

 4  district's charter. Candidates shall qualify as directed by

 5  chapter 99. by paying a filing fee equal to 3 percent of the

 6  salary or honorarium paid for the office, or a filing fee of

 7  $25, whichever is more. Alternatively, candidates may qualify

 8  by submitting a petition that contains the signatures of at

 9  least 3 percent of the district's registered electors, or any

10  lesser amount of signatures directed by chapter 99, chapter

11  582, or other general or special law.  No election or party

12  assessment shall be levied if the election is nonpartisan. The

13  qualifying fee shall be remitted to the general revenue fund

14  of the qualifying officer to help defray the cost of the

15  election. The petition form shall be submitted and checked in

16  the same manner as those for nonpartisan judicial candidates

17  pursuant to s. 105.035.

18         (3)(a)  If a multicounty special district has a

19  popularly elected governing board, elections for the purpose

20  of electing members to such board shall conform to the Florida

21  Election Code, chapters 97-106.

22         (b)  With the exception of those districts conducting

23  elections on a one-acre/one-vote basis, qualifying for

24  multicounty special district governing board positions shall

25  be coordinated by the Department of State.  Elections for

26  governing board members elected by registered electors shall

27  be nonpartisan, except when partisan elections are specified

28  by a district's charter. Candidates shall qualify as directed

29  by chapter 99. by paying a filing fee equal to 3 percent of

30  the salary or honorarium paid for the office, or a filing fee

31  of $25, whichever is more. Alternatively, candidates may

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 1  qualify by submitting a petition that contains the signatures

 2  of at least 3 percent of the district's registered electors,

 3  or any lesser amount of signatures directed by chapter 99,

 4  chapter 582, or other general or special law.  No election or

 5  party assessment shall be levied if the election is

 6  nonpartisan. The qualifying fee shall be remitted to the

 7  Department of State. The petition form shall be submitted and

 8  checked in the same manner as those for nonpartisan judicial

 9  candidates pursuant to s. 105.035.

10         Section 35.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section

11  191.005, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

12         191.005  District boards of commissioners; membership,

13  officers, meetings.--

14         (1)(a)  With the exception of districts whose governing

15  boards are appointed collectively by the Governor, the county

16  commission, and any cooperating city within the county, the

17  business affairs of each district shall be conducted and

18  administered by a five-member board. All three-member boards

19  existing on the effective date of this act shall be converted

20  to five-member boards, except those permitted to continue as a

21  three-member board by special act adopted in 1997 or

22  thereafter. The board shall be elected in nonpartisan

23  elections by the electors of the district.  Except as provided

24  in this act, such elections shall be held at the time and in

25  the manner prescribed by law for holding general elections in

26  accordance with s. 189.405(2)(a) and (3), and each member

27  shall be elected for a term of 4 years and serve until the

28  member's successor assumes office. Candidates for the board of

29  a district shall qualify as directed by chapter 99. with the

30  county supervisor of elections in whose jurisdiction the

31  district is located.  If the district is a multicounty

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 1  district, candidates shall qualify with the Department of

 2  State.  All candidates may qualify by paying a filing fee of

 3  $25 or by obtaining the signatures of at least 25 registered

 4  electors of the district on petition forms provided by the

 5  supervisor of elections which petitions shall be submitted and

 6  checked in the same manner as petitions filed by nonpartisan

 7  judicial candidates pursuant to s. 105.035. Notwithstanding s.

 8  106.021, a candidate who does not collect contributions and

 9  whose only expense is the filing fee is not required to

10  appoint a campaign treasurer or designate a primary campaign

11  depository.

12         Section 36.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section

13  582.18, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

14         582.18  Election of supervisors of each district.--

15         (1)  The election of supervisors for each soil and

16  water conservation district shall be held every 2 years.  The

17  elections shall be held at the time of the general election

18  provided for by s. 100.041.  The office of the supervisor of a

19  soil and water conservation district is a nonpartisan office,

20  and candidates for such office are prohibited from campaigning

21  or qualifying for election based on party affiliation.

22         (a)  Each candidate for supervisor for such district

23  shall qualify as directed by chapter 99. be nominated by

24  nominating petition subscribed by 25 or more qualified

25  electors of such district.  Candidates shall obtain signatures

26  on petition forms prescribed by the Department of State and

27  furnished by the appropriate qualifying officer.  In

28  multicounty districts, the appropriate qualifying officer is

29  the Secretary of State; in single-county districts, the

30  appropriate qualifying officer is the supervisor of elections.

31  Such forms may be obtained at any time after the first Tuesday

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 1  after the first Monday in January preceding the election, but

 2  prior to the 21st day preceding the first day of the

 3  qualifying period for state office. Each petition shall be

 4  submitted, prior to noon of the 21st day preceding the first

 5  day of the qualifying period for state office, to the

 6  supervisor of elections of the county for which such petition

 7  was circulated.  The supervisor of elections shall check the

 8  signatures on the petition to verify their status as electors

 9  in the district. Prior to the first date for qualifying, the

10  supervisor of elections shall determine whether the required

11  single-county signatures have been obtained; and she or he

12  shall so notify the candidate.  In the case of a multicounty

13  candidate, the supervisor of elections shall check the

14  signatures on petitions and shall, prior to the first date for

15  qualifying for office, certify to the Department of State the

16  number shown as registered electors of the district. The

17  Department of State shall determine if the required number of

18  signatures has been obtained for multicounty candidates and

19  shall so notify the candidate.  If the required number of

20  signatures has been obtained for the name of the candidate to

21  be placed on the ballot, the candidate shall, during the time

22  prescribed for qualifying for office in s. 99.061, submit a

23  copy of the notice to, and file her or his qualification

24  papers with, the qualifying officer and take the oath

25  prescribed in s. 99.021.

26         Section 37.  Subsection (1) of section 876.05, Florida

27  Statutes, is amended to read:

28         876.05  Public employees; oath.--

29         (1)  All persons who now or hereafter are employed by

30  or who now or hereafter are on the payroll of the state, or

31  any of its departments and agencies, subdivisions, counties,

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 1  cities, school boards and districts of the free public school

 2  system of the state or counties, or institutions of higher

 3  learning, and all candidates for public office, except

 4  candidates for federal office, are required to take an oath

 5  before any person duly authorized to take acknowledgments of

 6  instruments for public record in the state in the following

 7  form:

 8  

 9         I, ...., a citizen of the State of Florida and of the

10  United States of America, and being employed by or an officer

11  of .... and a recipient of public funds as such employee or

12  officer, do hereby solemnly swear or affirm that I will

13  support the Constitution of the United States and of the State

14  of Florida.

15  

16         Section 38.  Section 104.29, Florida Statutes, is

17  repealed.

18         Section 39.  This act shall take effect January 1,

19  2008.

20  

21  

22  

23  

24  

25  

26  

27  

28  

29  

30  

31  

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 1          STATEMENT OF SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES CONTAINED IN
                       COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
 2                         Senate Bill 958

 3                                 

 4  Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 958 is an omnibus
    elections measure that makes significant changes to the
 5  Florida Election Code. Some of the significant changes are:
    providing rulemaking authority to the division to dissolve
 6  minor parties that fail to file information required under the
    Florida Election Code; providing notice and opportunity to
 7  voters to provide sufficient evidence prior to election day to
    verify a voter registration application; revising list
 8  maintenance procedures; giving supervisors authority to remove
    deceased voters from the statewide voter registration system
 9  under specific circumstances; exempting federal candidates
    from the current candidate oath and public employee oath;
10  creating a new federal candidate oath; changing the
    qualification period for state, multicounty district, county,
11  district, and special district offices, except judicial
    offices or the offices of state attorney or public defender;
12  providing that a petition signature will not be counted if a
    voter gives an address other than the legal residence where
13  the voter is registered; providing that a county commissioner
    is "elected" at the time of election certification; changing
14  the primary election to 10 weeks before the general election,
    rather than 9 weeks; clarifying the procedures for recall of
15  municipal officeholders; providing that requests for absentee
    ballots are effective for all elections through next two
16  general elections after request date; requiring supervisors to
    send absentee ballots overseas at least 45 days before the
17  general election; changing the notice requirements for holding
    an emergency election; allowing the Governor to declare an all
18  mail ballot election in lieu of suspending an election due to
    an emergency; providing an additional 19 hours for the
19  submission of returns after a general election; requiring the
    submission of preliminary election returns to the department
20  on election night; including provisional ballots in the
    unofficial returns; revising the contribution and expenditure
21  reporting dates for candidates and committees under section
    106.07, F.S.; and repealing section 104.29, F.S. The committee
22  substitute provides an effective date of January 1, 2008.

23  

24  

25  

26  

27  

28  

29  

30  

31  

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