Elections division makes changes to limit person-to-person contact

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — In an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, candidates running for office will be allowed to submit qualifying papers through email, instead of in person, the state elections division said.

The Florida Division of Elections issued two emergency rules Monday, according to the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections Office. The rules are in response to the public health emergency caused by coronavirus, or COVID-19.

The first rule removes the requirement that a candidate’s qualifying documents be “originals and signatures thereon be made in ink,” officials said. Candidates can now submit their qualifying documents through email.

“This new rule allows qualifying documents to be collected, notarized and submitted with limited person-to-person contact,” officials said in a statement.

Officials said notary statements on required forms will be revised accordingly.

The second emergency rule removes the requirement that the voter’s signature on a candidate petition be an “original, ink signature.” This rule allows signed petitions to be collected without person-to-person contact, authorities said.

Under this rule, a registered voter can return their signed candidate petition through email or fax. Candidate petitions must not be returned directly to the elections office.

The qualifying week for Indian River County candidates is from noon June 8 through noon June 12, officials said. Candidates can begin submitting qualifying documents during the pre-qualifying period from May 25 through June 7.

Officials said candidates are encouraged to turn in paperwork during pre-qualifying week. Filing paperwork early gives candidates time to assure all documents are accounted for.

The two emergency rules can be found on the Florida Division of Elections website. Those who want more information on candidate qualifying and petition collection can contact the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections Office at 772-226-3440.

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