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Florida Sheriffs Association packs mailboxes with pro-Amendment 10 fliers

A mailer is hitting voters’ mailboxes this weekend pushing for Amendment 10, which would constitutionally require certain county offices be elected.

The Florida Sheriff’s Association flyer features Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri on the front. Gualtieri is a board member on the statewide group backing Amendment 10.

“The importance of our Sheriffs in protecting Florida’s families is widely acknowledged. But believe it or not, there are some who would take away people’s right to elect your Sheriff. One county has already done that,” Gualtieri says in the mailer.

The measure would mandate five local offices — sheriff, tax collector, supervisor of elections, clerk of court and property appraiser — be elected in all 67 counties. It would also prohibit charter counties from abolishing or modifying those offices.

Charter counties have argued local voters should have the power to decide how constitutional offices are structured and whether they should be elected positions.

“Charters are formal written documents that confer powers, duties, or privileges on the county,” according to the Florida Association of Counties.

The Florida Supreme Court dismissed a challenge against Amendment 10 to have it removed from the ballot.

The Constitution Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years to propose changes to the state’s constitution, decided to put the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The measure seeks to block those offices from having appointed leadership, which would remove potential partisanship from the offices.

“I know there are a lot of amendments on this year’s ballot. Some are confusing, but this amendment is straightforward and supported by all Florida Sheriffs,” Gualtieri wrote.

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The flyer highlights benefits that would come from the amendment, including:

— Protecting citizens’ right to vote. 

— Protecting families through a counterterrorism office it would create. 

— Protecting tax dollars by starting budgeting earlier in the year. 

It also contains the exact referendum language that appears on this year’s ballot:

“Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even-numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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