Q&A – How Should Florida List Candidates On Our Ballots

Today’s entry - Relatively new to FL, I'm glad I found you. I am a Penn State Grad and ran for the Board of Trustees when the whole Joe Paterno incident happened. That year there were about 40 candidates for 3 seats. The University determined ballot position by lottery. Imagine putting balls, like the lottery, into a tumbler. Each ball would have a number that referenced a candidate. The drawings would determine the ballot positions. It worked for PSU and I think it can work for any election. Just a thought.

Bottom Line: On Monday I shared details of a court ruling issued last Friday striking down Florida’s ballot order law as prejudicial. While the DeSantis administration intends to appeal the decision, we’re left with having to prepare a new plan to prioritize the way candidates are listed on ballots. The law, established in 1951, states that the governor’s party would be listed first on ballots. So, how do we do it? The lottery idea is a good thought.

Under Article 1 Section 4 of the US Constitution, it’s up to the states how they handle their ballots. There are six other states that list candidates as Florida has since 1951, making it one of the more broadly adopted methods. As an aside, the US District Court ruling doesn’t impact those other states, but you might imagine there may be additional legal challenges in the future given what just happened in Florida. I found thirteen different methods used across the fifty states. The lottery method is one of the more common. There are seven states that do some form of lottery in determining the order of candidates appear on ballots. There’s one thing that all states have in common. There’s always someone listed first. 

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