Signatures for Florida 2020 initiatives must be certified by February 1st

February 1 is the deadline for initiative petition signatures to be certified by the Florida Secretary of State to qualify initiated constitutional amendments for the 2020 ballot. Since state law gives local elections officials 30 days to verify signatures, petitioners needed to submit signatures on or before January 2, 2020, to guarantee that an initiative would qualify for the 2020 ballot.

766,200 valid signatures are required to qualify. This number is based on a percentage (8%) of ballots cast in the last presidential election, which in 2016 was 9,577,333.

Three citizen initiated measures have qualified for the ballot:

  • Amendment 1, sponsored by Florida Citizen Voters, would specify that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local, or school elections.
  • Amendment 2, sponsored by Florida For A Fair Wage, would increase the state’s minimum wage incrementally to $15 by 2026.
  • Amendment 3, sponsored by All Voters Vote, Inc., would establish a top-two open primary system for state office primary elections.

Sponsors of four other initiatives submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for a ballot language review by the state supreme court. Those initiatives and how many valid signatures had been verified as of January 2, 2020, are as follows:

  • Initiative #18-10, Changes to Energy Market Initiative: 623,079 valid signatures;
  • Initiative #19-01, Ban on Semiautomatic Rifles and Shotguns Initiative: 130,232 valid signatures;
  • Initiative #19-08, Double Election Requirement for Constitutional Amendments Initiative: 526,469 valid signatures;
  • Initiative #19-11, Marijuana Legalization Initiative: 228,308 valid signatures.

Proponents of Initiative #19-11, Make it Legal Florida, filed a lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and other elections officials on December 31, 2019, requesting the court to order the Secretary of State to accept signature petitions submitted by February 1, 2020. The lawsuit also challenges the constitutionality of Florida House Bill 5, passed by the Florida Legislature in 2019. Florida HB 5 required paid petition circulators to register with the secretary of state and provide information such as his or her name, address, date of birth, and a circulator affidavit; banned paying petitioners based on the number of signatures collected (pay-per-signature); and enacted other rules concerning statewide initiative petitions and local measures. Nick Hansen, chairman of Make it Legal Florida, said, “Our request is that Florida’s Secretary of State, who has worked hard to ensure processes and rules are followed to the letter, count every signed petition submitted by January 31 toward the 2020 ballot, regardless of when it’s validated.”

Ninety-one measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Florida between 1996 and 2018, of which, 75.82% (69 of 91) were approved by voters and 24.18% (22 of 91) were defeated.

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Additional Reading:
Florida 2020 ballot measures
Florida Marijuana Legalization and Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Sales Initiative (2020)