David A. Taylor, Appellant,
Mike Hogan, in his official capacity as Supervisor of Elections, Duval County, Florida, Appellee.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. Robert M.
L. Henrichsen of Henrichsen Siegel, P.L.L.C., Jacksonville,
R. Teal, Deputy General Counsel, and Craig D. Feiser,
Assistant General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, City of
Jacksonville, Jacksonville, for Appellee.
election case, David Taylor appeals the trial court's
denial of mandamus and declaratory relief. He claims the
Duval County Supervisor of Elections ("Hogan") was
required to comply with the notice and publication
requirements of section 100.141, Florida Statutes (2018),
after the Jacksonville City Council ("Council")
called for a special election to fill a vacant council seat.
We reject this argument because the notice and publication
requirements of section 100.141 do not apply to
locally-called special elections.
early June 2018, a council member announced his irrevocable
intention to resign from office. After consulting with Hogan,
the Council called for a special election under the
Jacksonville City Charter to fill the upcoming vacancy. On
June 12, 2018, the Council passed a resolution that set an
August 28, 2018, date for the upcoming special election. The
Council set the qualifying period to run from noon on June
25, 2018, through noon on June 27, 2018. For candidates
seeking to qualify via voter petition, the Council declared a
June 19, 2018, deadline. The Council neither instructed Hogan
to give public notice nor provided a notice to publish.
Taylor was eligible for the Council seat and claims he would
have run for the seat, if he had received notice. Taylor
filed a petition for mandamus and complaint for declaratory
judgment against Hogan.
question presented is whether the statutory notice mandates
that apply when the "Governor" is
"required" to fill a vacancy through a special
election also apply to a discretionary, purely local
election. The Florida Election Code [*] defines a special election as
"a special election called for the purpose of voting on
a party nominee to fill a vacancy in the national, state,
county, or district office." § 97.021(34), Fla.
Stat. (2018). This definition does not apply "where the
context clearly indicates otherwise." § 97.021,
qualifying as a special election, "the Governor"
must issue an order setting the special election date and
provide that order to the Department of State. §
100.l41(1), Fla. Stat. Based on the Governor's order, the
Department of State must prepare a notice with information
about the upcoming election, including the qualifying period.
§ 100.l41(1)-(2), Fla. Stat. Finally, the Department of
State must provide the prepared notice to the relevant
election supervisor, who must then publish the notice. §
100.l41(3), Fla. Stat.
Florida Election Code also contains an express provision
regarding notice for special elections "called by local
governing bodies." § 100.151, Fla. Stat. (2018).
The only notice required by this provision is notice to the
supervisor of elections. § 100.151, Fla. Stat. The only
other applicable notice provision, a catch-all for special
elections unaddressed elsewhere in the Florida Election Code,
requires notice of the election itself, but not the
qualifying period. § 100.342, Fla. Stat. (2018).
argues that the local election at issue here falls under
section 100.141 based on the Florida Election Code's
broad definition of "special election." We
disagree. The context clearly indicates that "special
election" in section 100.l41 does not refer to locally
called, discretionary, special elections. While the Florida
Election Code's definition of "special
election" is broad enough to include the local election
at issue in this case, this general definition does not apply
"when the context clearly indicates otherwise."
§ 97.021, Fla. Stat. (2018). In context, section
100.l41(3) only applies when the Governor and Department of
State are involved in the election process. See
§ 100.141(1)-(3), Fla. Stat.
the notice provisions of section 100.l41 apply "whenever
a special election is required." See
§ 100.141(1), Fla. Stat. (emphasis added). Because the
Council could have just left this vacancy open, a special
election was not required. See § 100.141(1),
Fla. Stat. Further, Taylor concedes the special election here
was "permissive and not mandatory."
the Florida Election Code's notice provision for special
elections "called by local governing bodies" does
not provide a basis for Taylor's claim because the
provision only requires notice to the supervisor of elections
before a special election called by a "local governing
body" can be held. § 100.151, Fla. Stat. The
omission of any publication requirement in section 100.151,
which is specifically targeted at local elections, indicates
that the Florida Election Code does not require notice of the
qualifying period for local elections. Similarly, section
100.342, the catch all provision, requires notice of the
election itself, but not the qualifying period.
we find the statutes did not require Hogan to comply with the
notice and publication requirements set forth in section
100.141, and thus, the trial court did not ...