Short of signatures and short of time, too
State elections officials say two high-profile ballot initiatives are short of the 611,009 verified voter signatures needed to get on the ballot with about two-and-a-half weeks to go. The big surprise: Florida For Marriage Protection, the group pushing a ban on same-sex marriages, was about 22,000 signatures short with a total of 589,020 Monday, even though the group called a news conference last month, claiming it had reached the signature target.
What happened? Sterling Ivey, spokesman for the Division of Elections, cited a discrepancy in the Miami-Dade elections office, where more than 20,000 duplicate signatures received in 2006 were counted twice. Ivey's boss, Secretary of State Kurt Browning, last week junked that pre-2007 automated counting method in favor of a new requirement for paper reporting, precisely because of concerns about unreliable county numbers.
In the second case, Florida Hometown Democracy had 501,000 signatures as of Monday, putting it about 110,000 signatures short of the mark. The deadline for submission of signatures is Feb. 1.