Deadline for Florida 2020 ballot initiatives passes on February 1, 2020, with four measures qualifying

The signature deadline for citizen initiatives in Florida targeting the 2020 ballot passed on February 1. 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 ballot in 2020. The signature requirement for 2020 measures was 766,200.

Four citizen initiatives qualified for the 2020 ballot:

*Amendment 1: adds language to state constitution saying that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local, or school elections

*Amendment 2: increases minimum wage to $15 by 2026

*Amendment 3: establishes a top-two open primary system for state office primary elections

*Amendment 4: requires voter-approved constitutional amendments to be approved by voters at a second general election

The Florida State Legislature may also refer constitutional amendments to the 2020 ballot during the 2020 legislative session, which is set to run from January 14 to March 13, 2020. As of February 3, 2020, one amendment, HJR 301, had passed one chamber. The amendment would abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, the body that convenes every 20 years to refer constitutional amendments to voters. If the amendment is approved in the Senate, it would appear on the 2020 ballot.

Proponents of citizen initiatives that did not make the ballot in 2020 may still gather signatures to qualify on the 2022 ballot. Petitions are allowed to circulate for an indefinite period of time, but signatures are valid for a two-year period of time; therefore, proponents must collect all of their signatures for verification within a two-year period. Campaigns need to have signatures verified for their initiatives by February 1 of the general election year in which they want their proposals to appear on the ballot.

As of February 3, 2020, three measures had gathered enough valid signatures (76,632) to trigger a ballot language review by the state supreme court. Initiative 18-16 to expand Medicaid has 90,420 valid signatures. Initiative 19-01 to ban semiautomatic rifles and shotguns has 147,304 valid signatures. Initiative 19-11 to legalize marijuana has 519,961 valid signatures.

The signature requirement for 2022 ballot measures in Florida will change after 2020 presidential election. To place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, proponents must collect signatures equal to 8 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last presidential election.

A total of 91 measures appeared on the Florida ballot between 1996 and 2018, 75.82% of which were approved and 24.18% were defeated. From 1996 to 2018, an average of between seven and eight measures appeared on the ballot during even-numbered years in Florida.

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Additional Reading:
Florida 2022 ballot measures