Party Registration in Other States May Disqualify Florida Candidates

A candidate seeking the nomination of a political party must make a statement that they have not been a registered member of any other political party for 365 days before the beginning of the qualifying period.  Fla. Stat. 99.021(1)(b).  In Flagler County a controversy has arisen regarding whether this law disqualifies a Republican candidate for Sheriff who moved to Florida from New Jersey in 2009. In New Jersey he was a registered Democrat, but registered as a Republican after he moved to Florida.  The issue is apparently whether his New Jersey registration is still in effect and, if so, whether a conflicting registration from another state disqualifies a candidate under Florida law.  This article describes the circumstances of John Pollinger, a Republican candidate for Flagler County Sheriff. Given the requirements of the law and this recent controversy, it would behoove candidates to examine the status of their past out-of-state registrations, as well as those of their opponents. 

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Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

About Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

Tom Shults is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and represents clients in election and sunshine law issues, complex business and commercial disputes and probate and trust suits. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983 and has maintained an active trial practice in state and federal courts for over 35 years. Tom represents candidates, political parties and political action committees in election disputes and election law litigation. He successfully represented the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections in Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections et al. v. Browning et al. , where the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of Sarasota County’s charter election law amendments. Tom has served on the Professional Ethics Committee of The Florida Bar and is the past Chairman of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee of The Florida Bar. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Sarasota County Bar Association for his work with the Sarasota Mental Health Community Centers. In 2013 he was nominated for circuit court judge by the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee. Tom has served on the faculty of the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law and on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Program for Practicing Lawyers at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. Tom grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a graduate of St. Petersburg High School (1973), Florida State University (B.S. 1977) and Washburn University School of Law (J.D. cum laude 1982). He is veteran of the United States Army.
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