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Division of Elections renders opinion on politicians and their Facebook pages

in Statewide by

In one of its first opinions addressing the challenging issues facing political advertising on new media, the Florida Divison of Elections rendered an opinion that there is no rule against politicians listing their party affiliation on such as Facebook provided they aren’t running for re-election.

The request came from the City of Coral Springs whose Commissioners wanted to know if there was any rule regardinng nonpartisan candidates posted their party affiliations on their Facebook pages.

Division of Elections Director Donald Palmer rendered an opinion that states that posting a party affiliation on a social networking site would violate the state law for nonpartisan candidates, but that the prohibition doesn’t apply if the elected official is not actively campaigning for re-election.

“The election code does not prohibit nonpartisan officeholders from publicly presenting their party affiliation unless and until they again become a candidate,” wrote Palmer in a March 3 opinion.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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