Florida judicial elections

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Judges in Florida participate in retention elections and nonpartisan elections held in even-numbered years.[1]

Supreme Court District Courts of Appeal Circuit Court County Courts
Merit selection, retention - Six-year terms Merit selection, retention - Six-year terms Nonpartisan elections - Six-year terms Nonpartisan elections - Six-year terms

Primary election

The primary is held 12 weeks before the general election.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag Trial court judicial candidates compete in nonpartisan primaries designed to narrow the field to two candidates for the general election. Candidates who receive a simple majority (fifty percent plus one vote) of the vote in the primary are considered winners and are not on the ballot in the general election unless a write-in candidate qualifies for the same office.[2]

General election

In the general election, appellate court judges stand for retention and trial court candidates compete in nonpartisan elections. Partisan organizations and political parties are forbidden from endorsing, supporting, or opposing candidates for office.[3]

Retention election

Retention elections for appellate judges ask voters a "yes" or "no" question of whether or not to retain a judge to another term. The judges do not face competition on the ballot. If a majority of votes are in favor of a particular judge, that judge will be retained to a new term.[4]

Unopposed candidates

Unopposed candidates for the circuit and county courts do not appear on any ballot and are considered elected following the general election.[4]


Statewide results are posted on the Department of State website. County results can be found on the county board of elections websites.



Historical changes

Florida election law permits the method by which judges are selected to be amended by initiative vote. In the 2000 general elections, Florida voted on such an initiative to change the judiciary to a merit retention system, which would abolish judicial elections and instead require the appointment and retention of trial judges. The measure was defeated in every jurisdiction.[5]

See also


FloridaFlorida Supreme CourtFlorida District Courts of AppealFlorida Circuit CourtFlorida County CourtUnited States District Court for the Middle District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of FloridaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitFlorida countiesFlorida judicial newsFlorida judicial electionsJudicial selection in FloridaFloridaTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg