§ 99.097 Verification of signatures on petitions.
Overview of Statute
(a) As determined by each supervisor, based upon local conditions, the checking of names on petitions may be based on the most inexpensive and administratively feasible of either of the following methods of verification:
s. 2, ch. 76-233; s. 10, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 80-20; s. 1, ch. 82-141; s. 13, ch. 89-338; s. 2, ch. 90-229; s. 12, ch. 90-315; s. 542, ch. 95-147; s. 21, ch. 97-13; s. 7, ch. 99-318; s. 109, ch. 2003-261; s. 19, ch. 2011-40.
- ballot access
- candidate methods of nomination
- petitions for nomination
- Signature requirements
Random sampling is not available for constitutional amendments proposed by initiative. The Florida Constitution requires signatures of at least 8% of the state’s registered voters. Since random sampling allows a slight inaccuracy of up to .05%, the constitutional mandate cannot be assured.
1. Definition for Department
The Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(7).
2. Definition for Supervisor
The supervisor of elections. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(36).
3. Definition for Contribution
(a) A gift, subscription, conveyance, deposit, loan, payment, or distribution of money or anything of value, including contributions in kind having an attributable monetary value in any form, made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election or making an electioneering communication.
(b) A transfer of funds between political committees, between electioneering communications organizations, or between any combination of these groups.
(c) The payment, by a person other than a candidate or political committee, of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a candidate or political committee without charge to the candidate or committee for such services.
(d) The transfer of funds by a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer between a primary depository and a separate interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit, and the term includes interest earned on such account or certificate.
Notwithstanding the foregoing meanings of “contribution,” the term may not be construed to include services, including, but not limited to, legal and accounting services, provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee or editorial endorsements. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(5).
4. Definition for General Election
An election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years, for the purpose of filling national, state, county, and district offices and for voting on constitutional amendments not otherwise provided for by law. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(16).
5. Definition for Political Committee
1. A combination of two or more individuals, or a person other than an individual, that, in an aggregate amount in excess of $500 during a single calendar year:
a. Accepts contributions for the purpose of making contributions to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;
b. Accepts contributions for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue;
c. Makes expenditures that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue; or
d. Makes contributions to a common fund, other than a joint checking account between spouses, from which contributions are made to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;
2. The sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment by initiative who intends to seek the signatures of registered electors.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the following entities are not considered political committees for purposes of this chapter:
1. National political parties, the state and county executive committees of political parties, and affiliated party committees regulated by chapter 103.
2. Corporations regulated by chapter 607 or chapter 617 or other business entities formed for purposes other than to support or oppose issues or candidates, if their political activities are limited to contributions to candidates, political parties, affiliated party committees, or political committees or expenditures in support of or opposition to an issue from corporate or business funds and if no contributions are received by such corporations or business entities.
3. Electioneering communications organizations as defined in subsection (9). Fla. Stat. § 106.11(16).
6. Definition for Issue
A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(13).
7. Definition for Ballot
As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(2).
8. Definition for Person
An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).
9. Definition for Division
The Division of Elections of the Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(8).
10. Definition for Election
Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).
11. Definition for Candidate
Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:
Case Name: Browning v. Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc., PAC
Citation: 29 So.3d 1053
Case Summary: Browning v. Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc., PAC held that the statute establishing petition signature revocation procedures violated the citizen initiative provision of the state constitution and as such were unconstitutional, since it was neither neutral nor nondiscriminatory, nor was it necessary to ensure ballot integrity. The case further held that the state supreme court had mandatory appellate jurisdiction because the district court of appeal implemented regulations that impacted the citizen initiative process.
Case Name: Guetzloe v. City of Daytona Beach
Citation: 901 So.2d 415
Federal Circuit Court: 5th Circuit Court
Case Summary: Guetzloe v. City of Daytona Beach held that Daytona Beach was not required to place proposed amendments on the ballot.
Case Name: Green v. Mortham
Citation: 989 F. Supp. 1451
Federal District Court: Middle District of Florida
Case Summary: Green v. Mortham held that Florida's ballot access requirements were reasonable and did not unduly burden plaintiff's constitutional rights.
Case Name: U.S. Taxpayers Party of Florida v. Smith
Citation: 871 F.Supp. 426
Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida
Case Summary: U.S. Taxpayers Party of Florida v. Smith held that the statutes requiring minor parties to file signatures by specified deadlines were not unconstitutional, since Florida had an interest in an early deadline to be able to prepare ballots and verify signatures, and the statutes were necessary to further that interest.
Case Name: Clean Up ’84 v. Heinrich
Citation: 759 F.2d 1511
Federal Circuit Court: 11th Circuit Court
Case Summary: Clean Up '84 v. Heinrich held that a Florida statute prohibiting solicitation of signatures for petitions within 100 yards of a polling place on election day was facially unconstitutionally over-broad.
Regulations & Guidance
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 88, Qualification without payment of fees and assessments; petition process
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 233, Procedural matters
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 234, Constitutional amendments
Nichols Cyclopedia of Legal Forms Annotated s 156:10, Verification of petition signatures-Agency procedure and prerequisites