October 8, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –The controversial Hometown Democracy amendment may be gasping for air as efforts to gather and verify signatures appear to have reached a stand-still. Organizers for the proposed amendment have not submitted any new petition signatures for verification in more than three weeks.
Barney Bishop, chairman of the Save Our Constitution (SOC) movement, commented on the languishing submission of new Hometown Democracy signatures, “They’ve either run out of gas because the voters are on to their methods and their deceptive amendment or organizers have greatly exaggerated the number of signatures they really collected and they don’t want folks to find out.”
“Hometown Democracy organizers ought to be asked some tough questions about the integrity of the information they are putting out regarding the total number of signatures obtained so far,” said Al Cardenas, SOC Co-chair. “It appears that while less than 350,000 signatures have actually been verified by state authorities; organizers claim they have passed the 500,000 signature mark. It sounds like campaign spin to keep their effort alive."
SOC is a statewide campaign focused on providing Floridians a legal avenue to change their mind and “revoke” their Hometown Democracy petition signature if they wish, once they know more about the initiative.
This dramatic slow down in signature verification comes in the midst of Florida’s high profile slots amendment court case. Opponents say the 2004 gambling initiative made it on the ballot, in part, due to thousands of forged signatures. Allegations include claims that some petitions carried the names of the deceased, pets and individuals who say they never signed a slots petition.
Organizers of Save Our Constitution believe Floridians are fed up with what’s happening to the constitutional amendment process, and the recent controversies surrounding the slots amendment and now Hometown Democracy is adding fuel to the fire.
“The extremists behind this insidious anti-growth initiative are running out of steam,” said John Thrasher, co-chair of SOC. “People are being purposefully misled by paid signature gatherers and the voters, and it seems they want no part of this destructive process.”
SOC is based on a new Florida law that allows signers of a petition 150 days to sign a second petition which notifies the Supervisor of Election they want their signature revoked.
“After two years of intense debate, the Legislature and Governor wisely recognized that thousands of Floridians have become disenchanted and frustrated by the amendment process. When voters have been misinformed, they deserve the chance to take back their petition signature,” added Bishop.
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