Tampa Bay Times by Mary Ellen Klas and Samantha J. Gross
July 19, 2019
TALLAHASSEE — Fueled by millions of dollars from unknown sources, an obscure petition drive declared victory this week and announced that a new constitutional amendment to require only citizens to vote in Florida — something that’s already required by law — has more than twice the number of signatures needed to get on the 2020 election ballot.
“Over 1,300,000 petition signatures have been collected to ensure Citizen Voters Amendment will appear on the 2020 ballot,’’ the organization said on its web site.
The feat was fast, since the group just formed nine months ago and raised and spent $2.4 million, but its confidence may be a bit premature.
The Florida Citizen Voters proposal still needs to pass a Florida Supreme Court review on whether it is misleading to ask voters to make something illegal if it’s already illegal.
But just as a new law took effect July 7, declaring that petition signatures are invalid if they are not certified within 30 days, Citizen Voters unloaded hundreds of thousands of petitions to county elections offices and ensured one thing: elections officials are scrambling to verify them by the deadline.