Candidate deadline to change parties looms Saturday

If you’re thinking about running for office next year, it’s time to choose your team.

The deadline for candidates to change their party affiliation to run for partisan office in 2022 is Saturday, June 12. 

“Upon qualifying, all candidates for partisan office must sign an oath attesting they have maintained their registration status with respect to party affiliation,” Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton said in a statement this week. 

The new deadline is the result of S.B. 90, Republican-backed legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last month. Activist groups have filed several lawsuits against S.B. 90, arguing that it will disenfranchise minority voters, but no court has ruled on the matter. 

For this particular provision, Barton said in the past only candidates who wanted to run for office with a political party needed to maintain that party affiliation for at least 365 before candidate qualification. 

“Now, all candidates for partisan office—even those without a party affiliation—must have maintained their party affiliation, or non-affiliation, for the 365-day period,” Barton said. 

Candidate qualifying begins on June 13, 2022. Prospective candidates (or any citizen) can turn in a Florida voter registration application or visit RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov to change party affiliation.

Thomas “T.J.” Pyche, director of communications for the supervisor of elections office, said individual voters do not need to worry about Saturday’s deadline. 

“This doesn’t really impact the voters—their deadline is 29 days prior to the election” Pyche said. “This is specifically for folks who want to pursue partisan office.”

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