Capone, Posner and Donnelly file as write-in candidates in their respective county commissioner races


Home » Politics
Posted June 14, 2022 | By James Blevins
james@ocalagazette.com

So far, three local entrants in the upcoming 2022 election cycle have active filed as write-in candidates, according to the Marion County Supervisor of Elections website.

Gina Capone has filed as a write-in candidate for the County Commissioner District 2 race, joining incumbent Kathy Bryant and Elizabeth Del Zotto, while Seth Posner and Brian Christian Donnelly are the write-in candidates running against incumbent Carl Zalak III, Keith Poole and Rachel Sams in the County Commissioner District 4 race.

What is a write-in candidate exactly, and how does the whole process work? Read on for more information:

What You Need to Know

A write-in candidate may qualify for any office and run without party affiliation, but also must qualify during the official qualifying period and must comply with the residency requirements of the office sought, said Starley Ard, public relations coordinator for the Marion County Election Center.

The official qualifying period for county commissioner races began on Monday, June 13, and will end on Friday, June 17. Thus far, Kathy Bryant for District 2 and Rachel Sams and Keith Poole for District 3 have already qualified.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 99.061, “a qualifying office may accept and hold qualifying papers submitted not earlier than 14 days prior to the beginning of the qualifying period, to be filed during the official qualifying period,” according to the Marion County Supervisor of Elections website.

Pre-qualifying began on May 30.

Write-in candidates are not required to submit nominating petitions, according to Ard, or pay a filing fee, election assessment fee or party assessment fee.

They are not entitled to have his or her name printed on the ballot either. A space will be provided on the general election ballot for their name to be printed by the voter. It is up to the write-in candidate to educate voters to write in his or her name in the space provided.

Additionally, write-in candidates are subject to and are required to comply with all campaign finance laws in Chapter 106 of the Florida Statutes.

Despite not having their names printed on the ballot, write-in candidates are listed on the Marion County Supervisor of Elections website. This happens, according to Ard, because although they are not entitled to ballot placement in order to qualify they must first submit the required qualifying forms to the Elections Office and file financial reports, per Florida Statutes 99.061(b).

“Although not extremely common, by definition, they can accept contributions, and therefore make expenditures,” said Ard of write-in candidates, adding that they will need a “repository” for this information.

Essentially, write-in candidates are held to the same standards statutorily as other candidates but are different by definition, said Ard. Write-ins are also only on the general ballot election.

“The idea behind a write-in is it is a vehicle for someone who is unable to secure the financial backing to still have access to being a candidate,” Ard said.

The voter registration deadline is July 25. Election Day will be held on Aug. 23. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Early voting begins on Aug. 13 and runs through to Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The mail ballot request deadline is Aug. 13 by 5 p.m. (Mail ballots must be received by the supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. Election Day to be counted.)