Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Qualifying Ends for 2006 General Election Candidates

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Qualifying Ends for 2006 General Election Candidates

Article excerpt

Byline: mark pettus

The ballots are set and the names of the candidates cast in stone.

Qualifying ended last week for anyone interested in running for office in the 2006 General Election in St. Johns County. Candidates had until noon July 21 to meet the requirements for their prospective office and several candidates waited until almost the last minute to file the required documents.

To appear on the ballot, candidates are required to name a campaign treasurer, open a campaign account at a bank and file a financial disclosure, according to the county Supervisor of Elections Office. They also must take a loyalty oath and either pay a qualifying fee or submit a petition signed by at least 1 percent of the registered voters for the last general election in the district of the office they seek.

For countywide elections, candidates need signatures from at least 1 percent of registered voters in the county. County commissioners represent a single district but are elected countywide and petitions for those offices must contain signatures from 1 percent of the county's registered voters. St. Johns County had 109,635 registered voters in the last general election (2004). Candidates needed 1,096 signatures to avoid paying the qualifying fee.

Qualifying fees vary according to whether a office-seeker is a partisan or nonpartisan candidate. Partisan candidates who do not present signed petitions sufficient to qualify without fees are required to pay 6 percent of the annual salary of the office they seek. Nonpartisan candidates must pay 4 percent. St. Johns County Commissioners are paid $56,197 per year and the qualifying fee for a partisan candidate is $3,371. School Board members cannot run partisan elections, and 4 percent of their $31,264 salary is $1,250.

Write-in candidates are not required to provide signed petitions or pay a qualifying fee. They do have to meet the other requirements (campaign treasurer, bank account, financial disclosures and loyalty oath). Write-in candidates' names do not appear on the ballot. …

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