Florida

Florida

You have Initiative rights for citizens to place constitutional amendments on the ballot for a decision by the voters, but citizens lack a process where they can pass statutes or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature.

Coalition for an Open & Accessible Initiative Process:

Florida NAACP

Florida PIRG

Poll

See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.

Grade: C-

Click here to view Florida’s individual report in Of the People, By the People, For the People: A 2010 Report Card on Statewide Voter Initiative Rights.

Citizen State Coordinator

For more information about how to get involved in protecting and expanding Florida’s initiative process, contact the Citizens in Charge Foundation Florida Citizen State Coordinator:

David Biddulph

 

Email David

State Balloting Process

How you can change Florida’s government through ballot initiatives

History

Florida’s best-known initiative and referendum backer of the
Progressive Era was retired U.S. Senator Wilkinson Call. The closest the
Florida legislature came to approving statewide I&R was the state senate’s
passage, in 1912, of a version so restrictive that it would have made it
virtually impossible to put an initiative on the ballot. The senate quickly
rescinded even this weak bill… Read More

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Date initiative language can be submitted: Any time

Signatures tied to vote of which office: Number of ballots cast in last
presidential election.

Next presidential election: 2012

Ballots cast in the last presidential election: 8,456,329

Net number of signatures required: Proponents must gather signatures
equal to 8% of the total number of statewide ballots cast in the last
presidential election. (676,506 signatures.)

Distribution requirements: Proponents must get 8% of the district-wide vote
for President in at least 12 of 23 Congressional Districts.

Circulation period: Four years. (While initiative petitions can stay active for
an unlimited amount of time, a voter’s signature is no longer valid four
years after the date he or she signed the petition. Proponents must obtain
the required number of signatures within any four-year period.)

Do circulators have to be residents of the state: No

Date when signatures are due for certification: The deadline for the State
to receive the signatures is no later than 5:00 p.m. of the 91st day
preceding the General Election. However, proponents
must turn their petitions into each county for certification. August 6 is the
deadline by which the counties must turn the certified petitions into the
Secretary of State’s office. Thus, proponents must give their signatures to
the counties early enough for them to verify them before the deadline.

Signature verification process: Florida charges proponents to verify their
signatures. For each signature checked, ten cents, or the actual cost of
checking a signature, whichever is less, is paid to the supervisor at the time
of submitting the petitions, by the political committee sponsoring the
initiative petition. However, if a committee is unable to pay the charges
without imposing an undue burden on the organization, the organization
must submit a written certification of such inability given under oath to the
Division of Elections to have the signatures verified at no charge.
However, a sponsor of a proposed initiative amendment who uses paid
petition circulators may not file an oath of undue burden in lieu of paying
the fee required for the verification of signatures gathered. The Division of
Elections will then circulate the undue burden oath submitted by the
committee to each supervisor of elections in the state.

Single subject restriction: Florida has a very strict single subject
requirement.

Legislative tampering: Constitutional amendments by initiative become
part of the constitution and are thus only alterable by the legislature
through regular constitutional procedures, any changes of which must be
approved by popular vote.

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.



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