The race for Leon County Supervisor of Elections will now be partisan following an April Supreme Court ruling in an Orange County case. Leon County’s Elections office has been non-partisan since 2002.
The county is one of a handful with non-partisan Supervisor of Elections races. Deputy Supervisor Chris Moore says even though partisan races for constitutional offices aren't required in the constitution, they are in state law.
“I think what the Supreme Court did was, they pointed out that for a local charter to be valid it can’t conflict with state statute, and so they pointed to several places in state statute where qualifications for constitutional offices was always defined as a partisan process.”
Moore says the ruling in the Orange County case, Orange County vs. Rick Singh, was based on the presence of a conflict between the local charter and state law. He says the court ruling won’t change how Leon’s election office is run, but going forward candidates will have to identify a party on the ballot, or they can run with No Party Affiliation.
“I want to stress that although the Supervisor of Elections is now required to be elected by a partisan process, this office will continue to function in a wholly non-partisan manner as it always has been,” Leon Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley said in a statement.
Local Clerk of Court, Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections are all constitutional offices. The ruling has no impact on city or county commission races.