Florida Hometown Democracy v. Browning
- Status: Upheld prior district court ruling that declared certain irregularities of the petition-check process and the signature revocation process were unconstitutional.
At stake was the fate of the Hometown Democracy Act, which did not appear on the November 2008 ballot because of mistakes by official state agencies, and possible unconstitutionality in the state's petition drive deadlines. It did, however, make it onto the 2010 ballot as the Florida Comprehensive Land Use Plans Initiative, Amendment 4. It was defeated.
The lawsuit was filed on June 11, 2008. It challenged the irregularities in the petition-checking process that stemmed from the fact that the state's voter database was not current, and some from the fact that different counties used different standards for determining whether a signature was valid or not. The lawsuit attacked the practice of disqualifying inactive voters from signing initiative petitions, and also petition signature revocation, the practice of letting voters remove their signatures after the petition has been filed.
Lesley Blackner, head of the Hometown Democracy effort, said that Florida's February 1, 2008, deadline violates the U.S. Constitution. She said, "It deprives people of their right to associate politically. The state has got to stop this war against citizens’ right to amend their constitution."
On February 18, 2010, the Florida Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling that declared certain irregularities of the petition-check process and the signature revocation process were unconstitutional.
For full details read the decision here.
Lawsuits challenging signature deadlines
- Florida Hometown Democracy Land Use, Amendment 4 (2010)
- Florida judges strike signature law, freeing development initiative
- Case Law, "Florida Hometown Democracy v. Browning," accessed September 6, 2014
- Ballot Access News, Florida initiative backers sue Florida in federal court, June 13, 2008
- Associated Press, Florida Hometown Democracy sponsors sue state to get on November ballot (dead link), June 12, 2008