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florida > The Florida Election Code > General, Primary, Special, Bond, And Referendum Elections

§ 100.371 Initiatives; procedure for placement on ballot.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the process by which initiatives are placed on the ballot. Initiative petitions cannot be bundled with other petitions, all signatures must be dated, and the sponsor must submit signed and dated forms to the supervisor of elections for verification of the number of signatures. Supervisors are responsible for verifying signatures within 30 days after receiving them. The statute then goes on to outline the next steps to getting initiatives on the ballot, including the Financial Impact Estimating Conference’s analysis and financial impact statement for the ballot.

Statute

(1) Constitutional amendments proposed by initiative shall be placed on the ballot for the general election, provided the initiative petition has been filed with the Secretary of State no later than February 1 of the year the general election is held. A petition shall be deemed to be filed with the Secretary of State upon the date the secretary determines that valid and verified petition forms have been signed by the constitutionally required number and distribution of electors under this code.

(2) The sponsor of an initiative amendment shall, prior to obtaining any signatures, register as a political committee pursuant to s. 106.03 and submit the text of the proposed amendment to the Secretary of State, with the form on which the signatures will be affixed, and shall obtain the approval of the Secretary of State of such form. The Secretary of State shall adopt rules pursuant to s. 120.54 prescribing the style and requirements of such form. Upon filing with the Secretary of State, the text of the proposed amendment and all forms filed in connection with this section must, upon request, be made available in alternative formats.

(3) An initiative petition form circulated for signature may not be bundled with or attached to any other petition. Each signature shall be dated when made and shall be valid for a period of 2 years following such date, provided all other requirements of law are met. The sponsor shall submit signed and dated forms to the supervisor of elections for the county of residence listed by the person signing the form for verification of the number of valid signatures obtained. If a signature on a petition is from a registered voter in another county, the supervisor shall notify the petition sponsor of the misfiled petition. The supervisor shall promptly verify the signatures within 30 days after receipt of the petition forms and payment of the fee required by s. 99.097. The supervisor shall promptly record, in the manner prescribed by the Secretary of State, the date each form is received by the supervisor, and the date the signature on the form is verified as valid. The supervisor may verify that the signature on a form is valid only if:

(a) The form contains the original signature of the purported elector.
(b) The purported elector has accurately recorded on the form the date on which he or she signed the form.
(c) The form sets forth the purported elector’s name, address, city, county, and voter registration number or date of birth.
(d) The purported elector is, at the time he or she signs the form and at the time the form is verified, a duly qualified and registered elector in the state.

The supervisor shall retain the signature forms for at least 1 year following the election in which the issue appeared on the ballot or until the Division of Elections notifies the supervisors of elections that the committee that circulated the petition is no longer seeking to obtain ballot position.

(4) The Secretary of State shall determine from the signatures verified by the supervisors of elections the total number of verified valid signatures and the distribution of such signatures by congressional districts. Upon a determination that the requisite number and distribution of valid signatures have been obtained, the secretary shall issue a certificate of ballot position for that proposed amendment and shall assign a designating number pursuant to s. 101.161.
(5)
(a) Within 45 days after receipt of a proposed revision or amendment to the State Constitution by initiative petition from the Secretary of State, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall complete an analysis and financial impact statement to be placed on the ballot of the estimated increase or decrease in any revenues or costs to state or local governments resulting from the proposed initiative. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall submit the financial impact statement to the Attorney General and Secretary of State.
(b) The Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall provide an opportunity for any proponents or opponents of the initiative to submit information and may solicit information or analysis from any other entities or agencies, including the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

(c) All meetings of the Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall be open to the public. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, jointly, shall be the sole judge for the interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of this subsection.

1. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference is established to review, analyze, and estimate the financial impact of amendments to or revisions of the State Constitution proposed by initiative. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall consist of four principals: one person from the Executive Office of the Governor; the coordinator of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, or his or her designee; one person from the professional staff of the Senate; and one person from the professional staff of the House of Representatives. Each principal shall have appropriate fiscal expertise in the subject matter of the initiative. A Financial Impact Estimating Conference may be appointed for each initiative.
2. Principals of the Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall reach a consensus or majority concurrence on a clear and unambiguous financial impact statement, no more than 75 words in length, and immediately submit the statement to the Attorney General. Nothing in this subsection prohibits the Financial Impact Estimating Conference from setting forth a range of potential impacts in the financial impact statement. Any financial impact statement that a court finds not to be in accordance with this section shall be remanded solely to the Financial Impact Estimating Conference for redrafting. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall redraft the financial impact statement within 15 days.
3. If the members of the Financial Impact Estimating Conference are unable to agree on the statement required by this subsection, or if the Supreme Court has rejected the initial submission by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference and no redraft has been approved by the Supreme Court by 5 p.m. on the 75th day before the election, the following statement shall appear on the ballot pursuant to s. 101.161(1): “The financial impact of this measure, if any, cannot be reasonably determined at this time.”
(d) The financial impact statement must be separately contained and be set forth after the ballot summary as required in s. 101.161(1).
(e)
1. Any financial impact statement that the Supreme Court finds not to be in accordance with this subsection shall be remanded solely to the Financial Impact Estimating Conference for redrafting, provided the court’s advisory opinion is rendered at least 75 days before the election at which the question of ratifying the amendment will be presented. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall prepare and adopt a revised financial impact statement no later than 5 p.m. on the 15th day after the date of the court’s opinion.
2. If, by 5 p.m. on the 75th day before the election, the Supreme Court has not issued an advisory opinion on the initial financial impact statement prepared by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference for an initiative amendment that otherwise meets the legal requirements for ballot placement, the financial impact statement shall be deemed approved for placement on the ballot.
3. In addition to the financial impact statement required by this subsection, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall draft an initiative financial information statement. The initiative financial information statement should describe in greater detail than the financial impact statement any projected increase or decrease in revenues or costs that the state or local governments would likely experience if the ballot measure were approved. If appropriate, the initiative financial information statement may include both estimated dollar amounts and a description placing the estimated dollar amounts into context. The initiative financial information statement must include both a summary of not more than 500 words and additional detailed information that includes the assumptions that were made to develop the financial impacts, workpapers, and any other information deemed relevant by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference.
4. The Department of State shall have printed, and shall furnish to each supervisor of elections, a copy of the summary from the initiative financial information statements. The supervisors shall have the summary from the initiative financial information statements available at each polling place and at the main office of the supervisor of elections upon request.
5. The Secretary of State and the Office of Economic and Demographic Research shall make available on the Internet each initiative financial information statement in its entirety. In addition, each supervisor of elections whose office has a website shall post the summary from each initiative financial information statement on the website. Each supervisor shall include the Internet addresses for the information statements on the Secretary of State’s and the Office of Economic and Demographic Research’s websites in the publication or mailing required by s. 101.20.
(6) The Department of State may adopt rules in accordance with s. 120.54 to carry out the provisions of subsections (1)-(5).
(7) No provision of this code shall be deemed to prohibit a private person exercising lawful control over privately owned property, including property held open to the public for the purposes of a commercial enterprise, from excluding from such property persons seeking to engage in activity supporting or opposing initiative amendments.

History:

s. 15, ch. 79-365; s. 12, ch. 83-251; s. 30, ch. 84-302; s. 22, ch. 97-13; s. 9, ch. 2002-281; s. 3, ch. 2002-390; s. 3, ch. 2004-33; s. 28, ch. 2005-278; s. 4, ch. 2006-119; s. 25, ch. 2007-30; s. 1, ch. 2007-231; s. 14, ch. 2008-95; s. 23, ch. 2011-40.

Definition [Department]

The Department of State.

Definition [Supervisor]

The supervisor of elections.

Definition [Polling Place]

The building which contains the polling room where ballots are cast.

Definition [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.

Definition [Alternative Formats]

(3) “Alternative formats” has the meaning ascribed in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-336, 42 U.S.C. ss. 12101 et seq., including specifically the technical assistance manuals promulgated thereunder, as amended.

Definition [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).

 

Definition [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.

Definition [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.

Definition [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.

Definition [Elector]

“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors.

Definition [Division]

The Division of Elections of the Department of State.

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election.

Cases

florida Cases

Case Name: In re Advisory Opinion to Atty. Gen. re Limits or Prevents Barriers to Local Solar Electricity Supply

Citation: 177 So.3d 235

Year: 2015

Case URL: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1716451.html

Case Summary: In re Advisory Opinon to Atty. Gen. re Limits or Prevents Barriers to Local Solar Electricity Supply held in part that the proposed amendment at issue's Financial Impact Statement was clear, unambiguous, less than 75 words, and was limited to only addressing the increase/decrease in revenues or costs to the state and/or local government.

Case Name: In re Advisory Opinion to Atty. Gen. re Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions

Citation: 132 So.3d 786

Year: 2014

Case URL: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1656047.html

Case Summary: In re Advisory Opinion to Atty. Gen. re Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions held in part that the proposed amendment's Financial Impact Statement complied with statutory requirements, as it was clear, unambiguous, less than 75 words, and only addressed whether the effect of the amendment would increase or decrease the amount of revenue or costs to the state or local governments.

Case Name: Browning v. Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc., PAC

Citation: 29 So.3d 1053

Year: 2010

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/ad43c65c3746d76b166d523a4c8ba372?query=29%20So[...]

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.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Constitutional Law s 13, Statutory authority for placement on ballot

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Constitutional law s 14, Financial impact statement

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Constitutional Law s 15, Financial impact statement-Particular amendments

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 235, Constitutional amendments-Procedure for placement on ballot

  • Lobbying, PACs, and Campaign Finance s 11:106, Special state issues