HomeCommunity NewsAnna Maria IslandFarrington secures petition signatures

Farrington secures petition signatures

MANATEE COUNTY – Mana­tee County Supervisor of Elec­tions candidate Scott Farrington has secured enough petition signatures to avoid paying a $10,133 qualifying fee.

The one-week qualifying period for county candidates begins on Monday, June 10 at noon and ends on Friday, June 14 at noon. Farrington will face interim Supervisor of Elections appointee James Satcher in the Republican primary that concludes on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Farrington spent 12 years with the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office and was serving as chief of staff when he resigned on April 12. Farrington resigned after Gov. Ron DeSantis appoint­ed Satcher, a sitting Manatee County commissioner, to serve the remaining months of the four-year term that Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett vacated when he resigned on March 1. Farrington filed his preliminary candidate’s paperwork in late January, long before DeSantis appointed Satcher.

DeSantis appointed Satcher to serve as the interim Supervisor of Elections despite Satcher having no previous experience supervis­ing an election or working in an election office. Once appointed, Satcher forfeited the remaining months of his District 1 county commission term.

On April 24, Satcher filed a campaign redesignation letter that stated he was resigning his candidacy for the District 1 county commission seat and running as a Supervisor of Elections candidate instead.

Petitions verified

When qualifying for elected office, Florida law requires candi­dates to pay a qualifying fee that equals 6% of the annual salary for the office sought. The qualifying fee is waived if the candidate secures enough verified petition signatures to equal 1% of the total number of registered voters as of the last general election for the office sought.

On May 7, Satcher, as Supervi­sor of Elections, issued a letter to Farrington that said, “This is official notification, pursuant to Section 99.095, Florida Statutes, that you have obtained the required number of valid signa­tures on your candidate petitions as a Republican candidate for the office of the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections. This certification excuses you from paying the qualifying fee and any party assessment when seeking to qualify for this office.”

When contacted on May 10, Farrington said he needed 2,806 verified signatures and he submitted more than 3,500, with approximately 600 signatures still awaiting verification.

Farrington secures petition signatures
James Satcher will have to pay a $10,133 qualifying fee. – Manatee County | Submitted

When contacted by The Sun, Supervisor of Elections Office Deputy Chief Sharon Stief said Satcher did not previously collect petition signatures for his county commission reelection bid and did not collect petition signatures for his current Supervisor of Elections candidacy. To have his name placed on the ballot, Satcher must pay a $10,113 qualifying fee, which he can do using some of the $70,500 he previously secured for his county commission reelection bid. To date, Farrington has raised $10,300.

Primary matters

Florida is a closed primary state. As of May 10, no other candidates had filed to run in the Supervisor of Elections race. If that remains the case, all of Manatee County’s registered voters, regardless of party affilia­tion, can vote in the Supervisor of Elections primary race.

If a Democrat or non-party-affiliated candidate joins the race and qualifies to run, the Supervisor of Elections race becomes a closed primary race for Republican voters only. If that happens, the August primary will determine who serves as Manatee County’s next Supervisor of Elections.

As an election tactic frequently used statewide, including in Manatee County, a non-party-affiliated candidate enters a race simply to close the primary race to the members of the other party and increase the odds of a preferred candidate winning. These primary-closing candidates generally do not solicit campaign contributions or actively cam­paign.

Voters are able to offset these primary closing tactics by changing their party affiliation before the potential single-party primary election takes place. July 22 is the deadline to change one’s party affiliation to Republican in order to vote in the Supervisor of Elections primary race and any applicable Republican county commission primary races.

Changing party affiliation can be easily done by visiting www.RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov. Party affiliation can then be easily reversed before the general elec­tion concludes on Tuesday, Nov. 5 even though party affiliation is not relevant in a general election.

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