String of special legislative elections has depleted a state fund
As Florida's 67 election supervisors gather for their annual mid-year conference near Orlando, they learned Tuesday that a state fund to pay the costs for special elections is temporarily tapped out -- until a new fiscal year begins.
The state Legislature appropriated $478,000 for the fund last year to pay for special legislative races and there's $276 left in the account, supervisors were told by the state Division of Elections. Lawmakers have no way of knowing how many special elections might be needed. When the new fiscal year begins July 1, there will be more money available, the state said.
With three more special elections coming up this summer, at least two counties -- Miami-Dade and Orange -- will likely have to ask their county commissions for extra money for temporary poll workers, printing sample ballots, opening precincts and early voting sites and other expenses. (Counties generally front the costs of a special election and are later reimbursed by the state).
Miami-Dade voters in Senate District 40 have competitive primaries in both parties to fill the seat created by Frank Artiles' resignation, and one of the Republican candidates for Artiles' seat is Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, whose House seat must be filled in a special election. The third special election in Orlando will be to replace Republican Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to be an appeals court judge.