Left of Banner: Walton County Seal. Center of Banner: Walton County Florida, Supervisor of Elections. Right of Banner: Headshot of Ryan Messer. His name appears to the left of the headshot above his title - Supervisor of Elections

Become a Candidate

The materials on this page should answer many of the questions you may have about filing/qualifying for office, but it is not comprehensive. It is the candidate’s or committee’s responsibility to follow all relevant Florida election laws and local charters that might have a bearing on your filing or your qualifications to run for office or establish a committee. 

Filing / Qualifying Office

The Walton County Supervisor of Elections Office serves as the qualifying/filing office for county and special district candidates within Walton County. Candidates may file the necessary items to become a candidate in the Main Supervisor of Elections Office located in the Walton County Courthouse at 571 US Hwy 90 East, Suite 102, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433. Please contact our office for any questions. 

If you are interested in becoming a federal, state, or multi-county candidate or committee, please contact the Florida Division of Elections.

For municipal office candidate qualifying, please contact the city clerk.

For more information about establishing a local political committee, please contact our office.   

For information about becoming a local political party representative, such as precinct or state committeeman or committeewoman, please contact our office.   

Offices Up for Election

Pre-Filing vs. Qualifying

An individual can announce intentions on running for a county office, but only becomes a candidate when the appropriate forms are filed.

Step 1: When a candidate completes and submits the necessary forms to be listed as a candidate, it allows them to open a bank account, begin accepting contributions, make expenditures, and collect petitions, if they so desire. Once you submit the forms to be a candidate, you will be listed as a candidate on our website and you will log in on our website to file regular financial reports, if required. Campaign finance reports will be filed following the appropriate reporting schedule. Candidates may become a candidate before the qualifying period (pre-file) or wait to file during the qualifying period.

Step 2: Qualifying is when you finalize the requirements to run for office. This includes submitting additional forms and paying the qualifying fee. In lieu of paying a qualifying fee, a candidate may choose to qualify by petition or as a write-in candidate. Write-in candidates’ names do not appear on the ballot. Qualifying only occurs during a designated time period. Candidates may submit qualifying items up to 14 days before the qualifying period, and are considered "filed" at that time.

See below for more information.

Step 1: Become a candidate

The following forms are required to be completed and submitted to file as a candidate. They may be submitted prior to the qualifying period or during the qualifying period. 

  • DS-DE 9  — Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository – must be filed before opening your campaign account, accepting any contributions, making any campaign expenditures, or collecting petitions
  • DS-DE 84 — Statement of Candidate (attesting that you have read and understand campaign finance law) – must be filed within 10 days of filing the DS-DE 9 form.
  • DS-DE 83 — Required for Judicial Candidates only — Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office (attesting you have read and understand the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct) – must be filed within 10 days of filing the DS-DE 9 form.
  • Special District candidates who DO NOT plan to open a campaign account, collect contributions, or make expenditures need only complete an Affidavit of Intent [PDF] in lieu of Forms DS-DE 9 and DS-DE 84. (Special districts include fire districts, community development districts, mosquito control districts, and river soil and water conservation districts.)

Step 2: Qualifying to run for office

Our office can begin accepting qualifying forms and fees 14 days prior to the official qualifying dates. Forms and fees will then be processed on the first day of the qualifying period. All qualifying forms and fees (if applicable) must be received before the end of the qualifying period for a candidate to run for office. The qualifying periods are as follows for county and district offices:

  • Judicial Candidates: Noon, April 22, 2024 – Noon, April 26, 2024 
    (We will begin accepting qualifying documents on April 8, 2024.)

  • All Other Candidates: Noon, June 10, 2024 – Noon, June 14, 2024 
    (We will begin accepting qualifying documents on May 27, 2024.)

The following forms are required to be completed and submitted during the qualifying period, or 14 days before, to qualify to run for office:

In addition, unless you are running as a write-in candidate, to qualify you will have to either pay the qualifying fee, or must gather, submit, and pay for the required number of valid petitions (Form DS-DE 104) before the petition submission deadline. Petitions are verified by our office at $0.10 each. Candidates are encouraged to submit extra petitions than the amount needed to account for any invalid petitions. 

  • Petition Submission Deadline:
    • Judicial Candidates: Noon, March 25, 2024
    • All Other Candidates: Noon, May 13, 2024 

  • Valid Petitions required (in lieu of the qualifying fee):
    • County offices: 607 valid petitions (verified at $0.10 each)
    • Special District offices: 25 valid petitions (verified at $0.10 each)

  • Qualifying Fees (if not qualifying by petition method):
    • County offices: Qualifying fees are based on the salary of the office sought and other factors. Qualifying fees for county candidates must be paid using campaign funds drawn from the candidate’s campaign account. Please contact our office for more information or exact amounts.
      The qualifying fees are determined as a percentage of the previous year’s salary of the office sought:
      • Filing fee = 3%
      • Election Assessment fee= 1%
      • Party Assessment fee (Partisan Candidates only) = 2%

    • Special District offices: $25.00

Residency Requirements:

Petition verification fees may be waived if the candidate chooses to file Form DS-DE 19A - Affidavit of Undue Burden and abides by the stipulations.

A write-in candidate is not required to submit petitions or pay a qualifying fee. Write-in candidates must qualify during the designated qualifying period. A write-in candidate’s name will not be printed on the ballot. A blank space for voters to write in a qualified write-in candidate’s name will appear on the General Election ballot only when at least one write-in candidate has properly qualified to be a write-in candidate. Only votes for qualified write-in candidates are counted. 

Campaign Finance 

Periodic campaign finance reports are required to be filed once you file as a candidate. Reports are submitted electronically on our website. When a candidate files to run, we will send instructions for the online campaign finance reporting system. 

Calendar of Reporting Dates

Campaign Treasurer and Petition Handbooks

Chapter 106, Florida Statutes

Additional Resources