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Ballot measure on county offices goes to Supreme Court

After a circuit judge last week upheld a ballot measure about county constitutional offices, the legal battle has quickly gone to the Florida Supreme Court.

The 1st District Court of Appeal on Monday forwarded the dispute to the Supreme Court, pointing to a “question of great public importance” that it said needs “immediate resolution by the Supreme Court of Florida.”

The dispute stems from a proposed constitutional amendment that the state Constitution Revision Commission placed on the Nov. 6 ballot. The measure, known as Amendment 10, would make the five local constitutional offices — sheriff, tax collector, supervisor of elections, clerk of the court and property appraiser — mandatory and require elections for the offices in all 67 counties. It would also prohibit charter counties from abolishing or modifying those offices.

Charter counties have opposed the amendment, arguing that local voters through the charter process should have the power to decide how constitutional offices are structured and whether they should be elected positions.

Challenges filed in Leon County circuit court argued that the ballot language and summary were misleading and that, as a result, the proposal should not go to voters.

But Circuit Judge James Shelfer on Thursday rejected those arguments, prompting Volusia, Miami-Dade and Broward counties to file notices of appeal Friday at the 1st District Court of Appeal, according to online dockets.

While it is somewhat unusual for the appeals court to quickly pass cases to the Supreme Court, it took a similar step last week in a dispute about a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at banning greyhound racing at Florida dog tracks.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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