Push to allow Fla. residents to vote on gambling expansion 41k signatures short

Push to allow Fla. residents to vote on gambling expansion 41k signatures short

January 12, 2018 9:08 AM
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In Florida, the push towards allowing residents to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to decide on future gambling expansion is about 41,000 signatures short of making the November ballot.

The effort faces a Feb. 1 deadline.

As of Monday, “Voter Control of Gambling in Florida” had 725,942 valid signatures out of the 766,200 it needs to make the ballot. State law requires a proposed amendment to gather signatures representing 8 percent of the turnout in the most recent presidential election. Amendments also need to hit signature quotas in 14 out of the state’s 27 congressional districts

Voters in Charge, the group backing the bill, says it would need to gather 1.1 million signatures in total before it exceeds the verified signature requirement. As of November, the group had collected a million.

Voters in Charge has spent nearly $5 million promoting the amendment as of the end of November, with the bulk of that money coming from Disney, the theme park operator in Orlando. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, in an apparent effort to protect its own gaming interests, has also contributed $1 million to back the effort.

The amendment is designed to “ensure that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” according to the ballot summary. If it makes the ballot, it would need 60 percent approval from voters to pass.