Nov 12

How to run for Florida Office

Hey All,

This year I ran for Florida House of Representatives District 49 (Orlando).  I lost, but I got 31% of the vote and I only spent $3000.  My opponent got 69% of the vote and spent $100,000.


I’ve been asked about this on Reddit, so I’m going to make a detailed post about how to run for Florida House of Representatives.  This is for state level offices (Florida House of Representatives and Senate).  The local offices (soil and water, county commission, property appraiser, sheriff, supervisor of elections, etc) use different forms and have different reporting systems, as does the Federal level.

That being said, don’t let this stop you from running.  I didn’t know what I needed to do, all I knew was to go the Florida Division of Elections site, and I started reading.  Here is the breakdown:

Candidate Documents

All Florida candidates documents are public record.  You can see every document and correspondence  between the State and the Candidate at

Mine is here:

The first form is the DS-DE 84 – Statement of Candidate.  This form just states your name and what you are running for.  The second form, DS-DE 9, is your campaign treasurer form.  This can be yourself.  You can also fill out this form multiple times with other people as your deputy treasurers.  This form must be done before opening up a bank account!  Once the state receives these forms, you will get an acknowledgment packet in the mail.  You can now open a bank account and start taking contributions and making expenditures.

This packet will also include  your candidate ID, and password for the electronic filing system.  You will regularly need to login and enter in your contributions and expenses.  You can see mine here: (click on Campaign Finance Activity)


You are now running.  Now what?  Now you have to qualify to be on the ballot.  The rules were laid out here:

There are two methods to qualify: Pay the qualifying fee, which was a little over $1000  (It is a percentage of the yearly salary of the seat you are running for), OR qualify via the petition method, which means getting people to sign a petition to have you on the ballot.  This form is DS-DE 104.


For my district, this was 976 signatures.  I filed about a month before qualifying documents were due.  I did not get 976 signatures.  I had to pay the qualifying fee.  I found out later that my opponent had turned in his candidate documents almost a year before I had, and had been working on these petition signatures for a long time.  The earlier you start the better.  He was able to qualify with the petition method.

As a side note, these signatures are given to your local elections supervisor, and get verified.  You have to pay ~10cents per signature, and they will be thrown out if they aren’t a registered voter in your district.


Financial Disclosure Form

During the week of the qualifying period (the period where you can turn in your petition signatures), you will also have to file your Financial Disclosure Form 2015 CE Form 6.  This form is hard to fill out, but not impossible.  You basically have to fill out what you make at your job, how much you have in your bank accounts, what debt you have, and what assets you have.

Party Oath

The last form you have to file is the Party (or lack of Party) oath:
Party Affiliation Candidates: (Form DS-DE 24)
No Party Affiliation Candidates: (Form DS-DE 24B)
Write-In Candidates: (Form DS-DE 24A)

You are on the ballot!

You are now running.  If you are running on a party, you may have to go through a primary.  As an NPA (No Party Affiliation) I was on the November ballot.

Now what?

Now you get to run.  You will need to setup a website, a donation system, start doing outreach, setup your Facebook and twitter pages, etc etc etc.

Any donation over $100 has to have the persons occupation and employer.  Donations are limited to $1000 per person.

Software is available to help with this.  I built my own open source software: .  ActBlue is only for democrats.  NationBuilder is available but charges per month.

You will get LOTS of questionnaires in the mail and through email.  Mostly to see if they want to endorse you.

Hob Nobs

Be prepared to spend money on tables at Hob Nobs.  These were fun, tiring, and introduced me to a lot of people in the community and to the other candidates.  At every Hob Nob they held a straw poll, which allowed you to vote and they would release the results at the end of the night.  That really helped with gauging my polling with various groups.

Each Hob Nob was hosted by different groups like schools, chambers of commerce, and professions.  They are worth every penny.


I didn’t have much money, but I spent $200 on 100 yard signs.  Get the biggest you can afford.  They will be stolen.  Factor that in.

I also spent about $150 on Facebook ads.  Totally worth it!  This got me in front of about 5000 – 10000 people.  You can super target your district.  My opponent spent $100 a week on Facebook ads.  I should have spent more.


Send out press releases about every event to local media.  You will start to make friends with the local press.  I had 2 journalists at each of my events doing coverage.  Make yourself available to them and treat them well.

All Forms:

This is all I can think of at the moment.  There was so much more.  Please feel free to ask / comment / email me anymore questions you have!

Nov 12


Hey All,


On Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, I received 31% of the vote for Florida’s House of Representatives District 49.

I did not win, but we did amazing.  Thank you to everyone who donated, volunteered, supported, and voted for me.  Sincerely, thank you.

I spent ~$3000 and was able to get 19,697 votes.  My opponent spent close to ~$100,000 and got 44,615 votes.  Incredible.

On the plus side, my opponent is a good guy, and is progressive, and Orlando will be in good hands with him as our Representative.

I am donating the rest of my campaign money to Equality Florida, and FamiLAB, both non profits doing amazing work in Orlando.

Thank you again.

-Shea Silverman

Oct 17

Awesome news and MakerFaire Orlando 2016 coming up

Hey All,

I have extremely awesome and happy news to report!  K is pregnant!!!!  We are having a baby!

In other news, MAKERFAIRE ORLANDO 2016 is this weekend at the Central Florida Fairgrounds!!!!

Come see me, FamiLAB, and hundreds of other exhibits showcasing the biggest show and tell on Earth!

Jacob and I have recently finished revision 3 of PiPlay Advance, and it’s looking awesome!


We are currently testing out a variety of buttons, but it’s coming together really nicely!

And finally, the Elections are coming up soon, and my race for Florida House District 49 is heating up.  I’m very excited to see what happens in the next few weeks.  That being said, I have the most amazing supporters out there!

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Have a great week all!


P.S.: In sadder news, at 91, my Grandmother Bernice passed away peacefully two weeks ago.  I was very hesitant about posting this, because it makes it feel so real now.  She lived an amazing life, and got to hear that she was going to be a great grandmother.  I miss her, and I love her, and it sucked that Hurricane Matthew hit the same week as the funeral, so everything had to be rushed.

Thank you all for being there for me.

May 28

Politics and PCBs

Hey All,

This has been a fun month.  Between campaigning, work, and Raspberry Pi stuff, I’ve been busy 😀


So I’ve been campaigning a lot this month.  I am running for the District 49 Representative in Florida’s House.  I love my district.  One thing that is crazy to me is the amount of money being put into this election.  I have raised around $2000.  I’m very proud of that number.  It’s coming from friends and family who believe in me.  It’s humbling.  My Republican opponent has raised around ~$7000.  I’m sure it’s more now. And now there is a second Republican who has entered the race.  On the other side, my Democrat opponent has raised over $90,000!  $90,000.  That is an absurd amount of money for a State House race.  I’ve heard the average is around $40,000.  

That is insane to me.  That’s a scholarship, a car, someone’s student loans.  And instead it’s going to a campaign for ad buys and t shirts.  I hate it.  I truly believe campaigns should be publicly funded at all levels.  On that note, I can’t help but see the irony in me asking for donations:


In other news, the first revision to the PiPlay Advance PCBs came in, and they are awesome!


This week I was in San Antonio, Texas for the IMS Global Learning Impact Leadership Institute conference, where I gave two presentations on the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) standards.  I was also there because my team at UCF won 2nd place in the LTI App Challenge for ProctorHub, our free passive proctoring software!

 It was a very different conference than I am used too.  Most of the software conferences I have been to have been very low level.  Getting into the nuts and bolts of how things work.  These educational conferences are very high level.  It’s an interesting paradigm change but I think we got some good stuff done.  I was able to give anecdotal evidence regarding some of the gaps in the current standards, and what could be done to improve them at all levels.  Stuff I introduce today will help to change the shape of educational software in the next few years.  

MegaCon is also this weekend.  I’ll have some pictures up from that event soon.

Have a good weekend!