(1) Subsequent to the general election in the year 2000, a local option for merit selection and retention or the election of circuit or county court judges may be placed on the ballot for the general election occurring in excess of 90 days from the certification of ballot position by the Secretary of State for circuit court judges or the county supervisor of elections for county court judges. The ballot shall provide for a vote on the method for selection of judges not currently used for filling judicial offices in the county or circuit.
(2) Certification of ballot position for the method of selection of circuit court judges shall be issued when the Secretary of State has received a verification certificate from each supervisor of elections in a circuit indicating that the requisite number of valid signatures of electors in the circuit has been submitted and verified by the supervisor or supervisors of that circuit. Certification of ballot position for the method of selection of county court judges shall be issued when the supervisor of elections in a county indicates that the requisite number of signatures of electors in the county has been submitted to and verified by the supervisor. Each signature shall be dated when made and shall be valid for a period of 2 years following such date, provided all requirements of law are complied with.
(3) The sponsor of an initiative for merit selection and retention or election of circuit or county court judges must register as a political committee pursuant to s. 106.03. (4) The Secretary of State shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 prescribing the style and requirements of the circuit court and county court forms for collection of signatures. (5) No later than 5 p.m. 151 days prior to the general election at which the proposed judicial selection initiative is to be voted on, the sponsor shall submit signed and dated forms to the appropriate supervisor of elections for verification as to the number of registered electors whose valid signatures appear thereon. The supervisor shall promptly verify the signatures upon payment of the fee or filing of the undue burden oath required by s. 99.097. Verification must be completed at least 91 days prior to the general election. Upon completion of verification, the supervisor shall execute a certificate indicating the total number of signatures checked and the number of signatures verified as valid and as being of registered electors of the applicable county or circuit. This certificate must be immediately transmitted to the Secretary of State for petitions related to the method of selection of circuit court judges. The supervisor must retain the signature forms for at least 1 year following the election in which the issue appeared on the ballot or until the committee that circulated the petition is no longer seeking to obtain ballot position as determined by the Division of Elections for circuit court petitions or by the supervisor of elections for county court petitions.
(6) Upon a determination by the Secretary of State for circuit court petitions or by the supervisor of elections for county court petitions that the requisite number of valid signatures has been obtained, a certification of ballot position must be issued for the proposed method of selection of judges. A request to exercise a local option to change the method for selection of circuit or county court judges is deemed filed with the Secretary of State for circuit court judges or the supervisor of elections for county court judges upon the date of the receipt of a certificate or certificates indicating the petition has been signed by the constitutionally required number of electors.
(7) Within 10 days after each general election for which an initiative to change the method of selection of circuit or county court judges was placed on the ballot in any circuit or county in the state, the Secretary of State must notify the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida of the changed method for selection of judges for any circuit or county where the initiative passed.
(8) The Department of State shall have the authority to promulgate rules in accordance with ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to carry out the provisions of this section.