Florida Gambling Amendment Receives 600,000 Signatures
A constitutional amendment aimed at inhibiting gambling expansion within the state of Florida has now collected over 600,000 signatures, according to reports published earlier this week.
Voters in Charge, the political group that campaigned for the amendment, spoke to the media, stating that they had reached half the goal. The group had initially planned to garner a minimum of 1.1 million signatures to meet the basic requirement of 766,200 valid signatures. With the current number, the group is very close to achieving its objective.
Once the signatures are collected, the amendment will be put up for voting in the 2018 General Election Ballot.
On the way
The Division of Elections Records, on Monday, found that the amendment, titled “Voter Control of Gambling”, currently possesses around 274,282 verified signatures. According to John Sowinski, Chairman of Voters in Charge, thousands of Florida residents have been signing the petition every week, which means it’s quite likely that the amendment will make it to the ballot by the end of the year.
Sowinski is also the head of No Casinos, an anti-casino organization. However, No Casinos operates as an independent entity and is not connected to Voters in Charge.
Sowinski added that the group was excited about being placed on the ballot after carrying out an aggressive campaign aimed at restoring authority to the people of Florida with regard to the gambling expansion plan.
With the new amendment in place, Floridians will have the right to decide whether or not the state will host casinos.
Success despite dissent
Though the Supreme Court had already approved the amendment for the ballot, it had faced objections from Justices R. Fred Lewis and Ricky Polston. The two had criticized the drafting of the amendment, citing that it did not possess a clear summary and title indicating that it would affect the state’s slot machines as well, which had been approved in the past via a nation-wide referendum.
However, the concern shown by Polston and Lewis was labeled as invalid because the Supreme Court had passed a unanimous ruling that counties passing referendums in favor of slot machines would be prohibited from offering them. This was based on the law that states do not have the power to regulate slot gaming in counties.
Voters in Charge will have to collect the required number of signatures by February 2018.