November 25, 2020
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HB 7009

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to petition procedures and standards;
3amending s. 99.097; revising terminology relating to
4verification of signatures on petitions; requiring name-
5by-name, signature-by-signature verification of initiative
6petitions and related petition revocations; providing
7requirements for initiative sponsors filing a certificate
8of undue burden; amending s. 100.371, F.S.; revising
9procedures for placing an initiative on the ballot;
10providing requirements for information to be contained in
11petition forms; providing procedure for revocation of a
12petition signature; providing regulation of initiative
13petition circulators; providing private property rights
14relating to activity on the property that supports or
15opposes ballot initiatives; providing for verification of
16signatures gathered before the effective date of the
17changes made by this act to ss. 99.097 and 100.371, F.S.;
18providing for severability; providing an effective date.
20Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
22     Section 1.  Effective August 1, 2007, subsections (1), (3),
23and (4) of section 99.097, Florida Statutes, are amended to
25     99.097  Verification of signatures on petitions.--
26     (1)  As determined by each supervisor, based upon local
27conditions, the verifying checking of signatures names on
28petitions may be based on the most inexpensive and
29administratively feasible of either of the following methods of
31     (a)  A name-by-name, signature-by-signature check of the
32number of valid authorized signatures on the petitions; or
33     (b)  A check of a random sample, as provided by the
34Department of State, of names and signatures on the petitions.
35The sample must be such that a determination can be made as to
36whether or not the required number of valid signatures has have
37been obtained with a reliability of at least 99.5 percent. Rules
38and guidelines for this method of petition verification shall be
39promulgated by the Department of State, which may include a
40requirement that petitions bear an additional number of names
41and signatures, not to exceed 15 percent of the names and valid
42signatures otherwise required. If the petitions do not meet such
43criteria, then the use of the verification method described in
44this paragraph shall not be available to supervisors.
46Notwithstanding subsection (2) or any other provision of law,
47petitions to secure ballot placement for an initiative and
48petition revocations directed thereto pursuant to s. 100.371
49must be verified by the method provided in paragraph (a).
50     (3)(a)  A signature name on a petition of a, which name
51that is not in substantially the same form as a name on the
52voter registration books, shall be counted as a valid signature
53if, after comparing the signature on the petition with the
54signature of the alleged signer as shown on the registration
55books, the supervisor determines that the person signing the
56petition and the person who registered to vote are one and the
57same. In any situation in which this code requires the form of
58the petition to be prescribed by the division, no signature
59shall be counted toward the number of signatures required unless
60it is on a petition form prescribed by the division.
61     (b)  If a voter signs a petition and lists an address other
62than the legal residence where the voter is registered, the
63supervisor shall treat the signature as if the voter had listed
64the address where the voter is registered.
65     (4)(a)  The supervisor shall be paid in advance the sum of
6610 cents for each signature verified checked or the actual cost
67of verifying checking such signature, whichever is less, by the
68candidate or, in the case of a petition to have an issue placed
69on the ballot by initiative, by the initiative sponsor person or
70organization submitting the petition. However, if a candidate or
71initiative sponsor, person, or organization seeking to have an
72issue placed upon the ballot cannot pay such charges without
73imposing an undue burden on personal resources or upon the
74resources otherwise available to such candidate or initiative
75sponsor, person, or organization, such candidate or initiative
76sponsor, person, or organization shall, upon written
77certification of such inability given under oath to the
78supervisor, be entitled to have the signatures verified at no
79charge. In the event a candidate or initiative sponsor, person,
80or organization submitting a petition to have an issue placed
81upon the ballot is entitled to have the signatures verified at
82no charge, the supervisor of elections of each county in which
83the signatures are verified at no charge shall submit the total
84number of such signatures checked in the county to the Chief
85Financial Officer no later than December 1 of the general
86election year, and the Chief Financial Officer shall cause such
87supervisor of elections to be reimbursed from the General
88Revenue Fund in an amount equal to 10 cents for each signature
89verified name checked or the actual cost of verifying checking
90such signatures, whichever is less. In no event shall such
91reimbursement of costs be deemed or applied as extra
92compensation for the supervisor. Petitions shall be retained by
93the supervisors for a period of 1 year following the election
94for which the petitions were circulated.
95     (b)  An initiative sponsor that has filed a certification
96of undue burden under paragraph (a) may not provide compensation
97to any paid petition circulator, as defined in s. 100.371,
98unless the initiative sponsor first pays all supervisors for
99each signature verified or reimburses the General Revenue Fund
100for such costs. If an initiative sponsor subject to this
101paragraph provides compensation to a paid petition circulator
102before the date the initiative sponsor pays all supervisors for
103each signature verified or reimburses the General Revenue Fund
104for such costs, no signature on a petition circulated by the
105paid petition circulator before that date may be counted toward
106the number of valid signatures required for ballot placement
107until the initiative sponsor pays all supervisors for each
108signature verified or reimburses the General Revenue Fund for
109such costs.
110     Section 2.  Effective August 1, 2007, subsections (1) and
111(3) of section 100.371, Florida Statutes, are amended,
112subsection (6) is renumbered as subsection (10) and amended, and
113new subsections (6) through (9) are added to that section, to
115     100.371  Initiatives; procedure for placement on ballot;
116private property rights.--
117     (1)  Constitutional amendments proposed by initiative shall
118be placed on the ballot for the general election, provided the
119initiative petition has been filed with the Secretary of State
120no later than February 1 of the year the general election is
121held. A petition shall be deemed to be filed with the Secretary
122of State upon the date the secretary determines that valid and
123verified the petition forms have has been signed by the
124constitutionally required number and distribution of electors
125pursuant to this code, subject to the right of revocation
126established in this section.
127     (3)(a)  Each signature shall be dated when made and shall
128be valid for a period of 4 years after following such date,
129provided all other requirements of law are met. The sponsor
130shall submit signed and dated forms to the appropriate
131supervisor of elections for verification as to the number of
132registered electors whose valid signatures appear thereon. The
133supervisor shall promptly verify the signatures within 30 days
134after receipt of the petition forms and upon payment of the fee
135required by s. 99.097. The supervisor shall promptly record each
136valid signature in the statewide voter registration system, in
137the manner prescribed by the Secretary of State, the date each
138form is received by the supervisor and the date the signature on
139the form is verified as valid. The supervisor shall verify that
140the signature on a form is valid only if the form complies with
141the following:
142     1.  The form shall contain the original signature of the
143purported elector.
144     2.  The purported elector shall accurately record on the
145form the date on which he or she signed the form.
146     3.  The date the purported elector signed the form, as
147recorded by the purported elector, shall be no more than 30 days
148before the date the form is received by the supervisor of
150     4.  The form shall accurately set forth the purported
151elector's name, legal residence address, county, and voter
152registration number or date of birth.
153     5.  The purported elector shall be, at the time he or she
154signs the form, a duly qualified and registered elector
155authorized to vote in the county in which his or her signature
156is submitted.
157     (b)  The supervisor shall retain the signature forms for at
158least 1 year after following the election in which the issue
159appeared on the ballot or until the Division of Elections
160notifies the supervisors of elections that the committee which
161circulated the petition is no longer seeking to obtain ballot
163     (6)(a)  An elector's signature on a petition form may be
164revoked by submitting to the appropriate supervisor of elections
165a signed petition-revocation form adopted by rule for this
166purpose by the division.
167     (b)  The petition-revocation form and the manner in which
168signatures are obtained, submitted, and verified shall be
169subject to the same relevant requirements and timeframes as the
170corresponding petition form and processes under this code and
171shall be approved by the Secretary of State before any signature
172on a petition-revocation form is obtained.
173     (c)  Supervisors of elections shall provide petition-
174revocation forms to the public at all main and branch offices.
175     (d)  The petition-revocation form shall be filed with the
176supervisor of elections by February 1 preceding the next general
177election or, if the initiative amendment is not certified for
178ballot position in that election, by February 1 preceding the
179next successive general election. The supervisor of elections
180shall promptly verify the signature on the petition-revocation
181form and process such revocation upon payment, in advance, of a
182fee of 10 cents or the actual cost of verifying such signature,
183whichever is less. The supervisor shall promptly record each
184valid and verified petition-revocation form in the statewide
185voter registration system in the manner prescribed by the
186Secretary of State.
187     (7)(a)  If a person is presented with a petition form or
188petition-revocation form for his or her possible signature by a
189petition circulator, the person shall record this fact on the
190form and the name and address of the petition circulator shall
191legibly appear on the form before the signature on the form may
192be verified by the supervisor. For purposes of this subsection,
193the term "petition circulator" means any person who, in the
194context of a direct face-to-face conversation, presents to
195another person for his or her possible signature a petition form
196or petition-revocation form regarding ballot placement for an
198     (b)  A paid petition circulator shall, when engaged in the
199activities of a petition circulator described in paragraph (a),
200wear a prominent badge, in a form and manner prescribed by rule
201by the division, identifying him or her as a paid petition
202circulator. For purposes of this subsection, the term "paid
203petition circulator" means a petition circulator who receives
204any compensation as a direct or indirect consequence of the
205activities of a petition circulator described in paragraph (a).
206     (c)  No petition circulator may receive, and no person may
207provide to a petition circulator, compensation that is based,
208directly or indirectly, upon the number of signatures obtained
209on petition or petition-revocation forms.
210     (8)  A signed petition form or petition-revocation form
211regarding ballot placement for an initiative that does not fully
212comply with the applicable provisions of this code or the rules
213adopted under this code, or that was obtained in violation of
214the applicable provisions of this code or the rules adopted
215under this code, may be verified by the supervisor of elections
216and counted toward the number of valid signatures required for
217ballot placement only if those deficiencies or violations are
218corrected prior to the date specified in subsection (1).
219     (9)  No provision of this code shall be deemed to prohibit
220a private person exercising lawful control over privately owned
221property, including property held open to the public for the
222purposes of a commercial enterprise, from excluding from such
223property persons seeking to engage in activity supporting or
224opposing initiative amendments.
225     (10)(6)  The Department of State may adopt rules in
226accordance with s. 120.54 to carry out the provisions of
227subsections (1)-(9) (1)-(5).
228     Section 3.  Any signature gathered on a previously approved
229initiative petition form that has been submitted for
230verification before August 1, 2007, may be verified and counted,
231if otherwise valid. However, any initiative petition form that
232is submitted for verification on or after that date may be
233verified and counted only if it complies with this act and has
234been approved by the Secretary of State before obtaining elector
236     Section 4.  If any provision of this act or its application
237to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity
238does not affect other provisions or applications of the act that
239can be given effect without the invalid provision or
240application, and to this end the provisions of this act are
242     Section 5.  Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
243act, this act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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