«HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS IN YOUR STATE COURTESY OF: Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Office Kimberle B. Weeks, Supervisor of Elections 1769 E. ...»
HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS
IN YOUR STATE
Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Office
Kimberle B. Weeks, Supervisor of Elections
1769 E. Moody Boulevard, Building 2, Suite 101 ● Bunnell, Florida
Phone: 386.313.4170 ● Fax: 386.313.4170 ● www.FlaglerElections.com
FLORIDA CIVICS 101 PAGE 2
Electing a President According to the Constitution, the President of the United States must be at least 35 years old, a citizen of the United States from birth and a U.S. resident for 14 years. The term of office is four years.
The President of the United States is elected by the electoral college system of voting. Each state is allocated a number of electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators, which is always 2 LIST OF U.S. PRESIDENTS FROM 1789
for each state, plus the number of its U.S. Representatives (Florida UNTIL TODAY:
has 27 since the 2010 census). Therefore, Florida now has 29 electoral votes.
After their caucuses and primaries, the major parties nominate their candidates for President and Vice President at their national conventions – (traditionally held in the summer preceding the November election). Then on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November (in years divisible by 4), the people in each state cast their ballots. Whichever party slate wins the most popular vote in the states wins all of the electors of that state. The candidate for President with the most electoral votes, (provided that it is an absolute majority) is declared President. In the event no one obtains an absolute majority of electoral votes, the U.S.
House of Representatives (as the chamber closest to the people) selects the President from among the top three contenders with each state casting only one vote and an absolute majority of the states being required to elect. If no one obtains a majority, the U.S.
Senate then elects the President among the two top contenders.
How many years can a person serve as President of the U.S.?
A president is limited to serving for 10 years in office. He or she can only be elected to two full terms according to the 22nd amendment to the U.S.
Constitution. However, if an individual becomes president through the order of succession, then they are allowed to serve an additional two years.
FLORIDA CIVICS 101 PAGE 3 federal representatives FLAGLER
U.S. REPRESENTATIVESCandidates for the United States House of Representatives (congressional office) are elected from “singlemember” districts in accordance with federal requirements. The number of congressional districts allocated to a state is predicated upon the state’s decennial census taken April 1st of each year ending in “0”. According to the results from the 2010 census, Florida now has 27 congressional seats. To become a candidate for congressional office, you must be a U.S. Citizen for at least 7 years, be 25 years of age, a registered elector, and a resident of the state when elected. Congressional terms are two years. Candidates for these offices file qualifying papers with the State Division of Elections and must also file net worth statements. These candidates are subject to federal campaign finance laws which differ from Florida campaign laws.
EXECUTIVEFlorida’s Constitution provides the same governmental organization found on the federal level: executive, legislative and judicial – in order to provide checks and balances. The executive branch of state government is also known as the “cabinet”. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor share power with the Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and the Commissioner of Agriculture. These offices compose the “cabinet” and are elected “at large” statewide. Effective January 7, 2003, the Comptroller and the State Treasurer/Insurance Commissioner have been combined into one Chief Financial Officer’s position. The Secretary of State and the Commissioner of Education are no longer elected positions, but appointed positions. To become a candidate for Governor, Lt. Governor, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture, you must be a U.S. Citizen, be at least 30 years of age, a registered elector and a resident of the state for at least the preceding 7 years. To become a candidate for Attorney General, you must meet all of these requirements, plus be a member of the Florida Bar for the preceding 5 years. The term of office is four years. Candidates for these offices file qualifying papers with the State Division of Elections. Candidates must file statements of their net worth.
LEGISLATIVEElection to both the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives is from “single-member” districts. Florida Senators are elected to four year terms. Florida Representatives are elected to two year terms. Both positions are subject to the party nomination process. Candidates for these offices file with the Florida Division of Elections and must also file statements of net worth. To become a candidate for the Florida Senate or the Florida House of Representatives you must be a U.S. Citizen, at least 21 years of age, a registered elector and a resident of the district you are seeking to represent upon taking office and a resident of the state for at least two years prior to the election.
FLORIDA CIVICS 101 PAGE 4
COUNTY GOVERNMENTThe Florida Constitution provides for “counties” and that each county is a school district, and that the voters within the county shall elect is officers. The county government is also organized like the federal and state government with executive, legislative and
judicial branches. The county officers for Flagler County are:
COUNTY JUDGECounty Judges are elected for six year terms. They are elected “at large” within the boundaries of the county. To be a candidate, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident within the jurisdiction of the court, a registered voter, and have been a member of the Florida Bar for the preceding five years.
Contested County Judges appear on the first primary ballot. To win this office, the candidate must receive 50% plus 1 vote of the votes cast. All registered voters may vote for this office – without regard to political party affiliation. If no candidate received a majority of the vote in the first primary, a runoff election appears on the general election ballot. County judges file qualifying papers as well as initial financial net worth statements with the county Supervisor of Elections. Once elected, financial net worth statements are filed with the Commission on Ethics in Tallahassee.
COUNTY OFFICESThe term for all of the other county offices is four years. All county officers file as candidates with the Supervisor of Elections. All county officers must file a statement of net worth in addition to other qualifying papers. To be a candidate, you must be a U.S. Citizen, reside within the county, be a registered voter, and in the case of county commission and school board, you must reside within the jurisdiction of the district you seek to represent. The salary of county offices is set by a formula based upon the county’s population. With the exception of County Judge and School Board members, the offices are subject to the party nomination process.
ELECTION SCHEDULESThe five constitutional officers (Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Clerk of Courts, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections) are elected in Presidential election years. The county commission and school board have staggered terms. Three county commission and two school board seats are up in Presidential election years; two county commission and three school board seats are up in Gubernatorial election years.
FLORIDA CIVICS 101 PAGE 5 COUNTY GOVERNMENT, cont’d
SHERIFFThe Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the county, responsible for the operation of the jail and provides court-related functions – bailiff, warrants, civil process. The Sheriff’s budget is funded through property taxes with some small portion coming from confiscated property fees.
PROPERTY APPRAISERThe Property Appraiser appraises “real property” at fair market value – (land and buildings); appraises tangible personal property in the county; prepares the assessment rolls; and administers exemptions. This office is funded by a “commission” on the appraised value by governmental unit. The Florida Department of Revenue approves this budget.
TAX COLLECTORThe Tax Collector bills and collects property taxes, tangible personal property taxes and special assessment taxes; registers and titles motor vehicles and vessels; issues motor vehicle license plates; issues hunting, saltwater and freshwater fishing licenses; and disburses taxes collected to various governmental bodies. This is a “fee” office. The Florida Statutes sets a fee to be paid to the Tax Collector for each transaction. The Florida Department of Revenue approves this budget.
CLERK OF COURTSThe Clerk of Courts is the county auditor; the Clerk of the Board (maintains minutes and records of the County Commission); the Clerk of both County and Circuit Courts; the official recorder for all real estate sales within the county; collects and disburses child support payments for participants; and issues marriage licenses. This office is funded through a combination of property taxes levied and fees charged by state law.
SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONSThe Supervisor of Elections registers voters for federal, state, county, district and city elections; selects, trains and pays poll workers and poll deputies; qualifies candidates for county and independent district offices; monitors and receives campaign reports; supplies and collects financial disclosures forms required by law; and conducts federal, state, county and independent district elections. This office is funded through property taxes.
COUNTY COMMISSIONThe County Commission enacts local ordinances; enacts and enforces zoning standards; adopts and enforces building construction standards; constructs and operates sewer plants; constructs and operates water treatment plants; constructs and operates landfills and trash disposal programs; constructs and maintains county roads; constructs and maintains county sidewalks; constructs and maintains public county parks;
constructs and operates public libraries; provides for the health and general welfare of county citizens; and sets the ad valorem millage rate necessary to raise taxes required to fund approved programs and services.
Commission budgets use a combination of funding sources – property taxes, occupational licenses, assessments, user fees, impact fees, bonds, tax anticipation certificates, grants, etc.
SCHOOL BOARDThe School Board operates, controls and supervises all free public schools within the school district;
provides adequate educational facilities for all children; assigns students to schools; and determines the rate of school district taxes. School Board budgets use a combination of funding sources – property taxes, impact fees, bonds, grants, etc.
FLORIDA CIVICS 101 PAGE 6
JUDICIAL DISTRICTS:Judicial elections are governed by Florida’s Constitution and Florida Statutes 105.
5TH DISTRICT COURT Judicial candidates for the Florida Supreme Court and various District OF APPEALS
Courts of Appeal are selected as follows:
01. Initial assumption of the justice position is through the appointment by the CIRCUIT Governor after recommendation by the Judicial Nominating Commission.
02. The Justice serves a six-year term at which time he/she must qualify for “Retention” for that office. The retention question can only appear on the general election ballot.
03. Should the majority of votes cast on a particular justice’s retention be “against” retention, the Justice would be removed at the end of the term and the Governor would again appoint another attorney to the position.