Common Candidate Mistakes

  1. Accepting Contributions Before Filing the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE 9)
  2. Candidates should file Form DS-DE 9 with their filing officer before the candidate accepts contributions or makes any expenditure. It is a violation of the election code to open a campaign bank account and contribute to that campaign account prior to filing Form DS-DE 9.

  3. Insufficient Funds on Deposit
  4. No candidate may authorize any expense or sign a check drawn on the campaign depository unless there are sufficient funds on deposit in the primary depository account.

  5. Accepting Excessive Contributions
  6. Candidates should pay close attention to contribution limits. Candidates are subject to statutory contribution limits depending on the office sought.

  7. Accepting Anonymous Contributions
  8. Candidates must submit a letter to the filing officer explaining the circumstances of any anonymous contribution. The candidate cannot spend the anonymous contribution, but can donate the contribution to an appropriate entity at the end of the campaign under 106.141, F.S.

  9. Accepting Unauthorized Contributions
  10. Candidates with opposition in an election cannot accept contributions on the day of the election or less than 5 days prior to the election.

  11. Campaign Checks Must be Endorsed by Treasurer
  12. Campaign account checks must be endorsed by the campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer. Candidates may not endorse campaign account checks for expenditures unless they are designated as the campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer.

  13. Late Filing of Financial Reports
  14. Candidates are required to file Campaign Treasurers Reports of contributions received and expenditures made during the reporting period. A candidate can be fined for failing to file a financial report on time.

  15. Not Reporting In-kind Contributions Correctly
  16. In-kind contributions are defined as anything having an attributable monetary value in any form, given for the purpose of influencing the results of an election. Candidates often forget to report in-kind contributions. These include contributions for website hosting, printing services, fundraising location rentals, etc. In-kind contributions are limited by statutory contribution limits.

  17. Omission of Political Disclaimers
  18. Any political advertisement that is paid for by a candidate (except a write-in candidate) and that is published, displayed, or circulated before, or on the day of, any election must prominently include a political disclaimer.

  19. Soliciting for Petition Signatures Before Filing
  20. A candidate can collect signatures as soon as a completed Form DS-DE 9, Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository, is filed with the filing officer. Petitions signed prior to the date Form DS-DE 9 is filed with the filing officer are not valid. Special district candidates are not required to file Form DS-DE 9 prior to collecting signatures.

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