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Leon County Charter and Ordinance Initiatives

Any resident of Tallahassee can propose amendments to the county charter, new county ordinances, or repeal of an existing ordinance. The initiative process is governed by Sec. 4.1 and Sec. 5.2(1) of the Leon County Charter and applicable requirements of state law. Though not comprehensive, a brief summary of the steps in the process is provided below:  

  1. Create a political committee. The political committee is the official sponsor of the initiative.
  2. Write the text of the proposed initiative and create the petition form. See below for details.
  3. Submit the petition form to our office for review. 
  4. Publish notice of the initiative in a newspaper.
  5. Circulate the petition for signature by Leon County voters.
  6. Deliver signed petitions to the Elections Office and pay for signature verification. 
  7. We verify the information on the petitions. 
    1. If enough petitions are verified, we will notify you and the Board of County Commissioners.
    1. If not enough petitions are verified, you have the opportunity to submit more petitions. If you still do not have enough petitions, your initiative ends. 
  8. For county ordinances, the Board of County Commissioners votes on the initiative. 
    1. If the Board approves the initiative, it becomes part of the county ordinances and the initiative ends. 
    1. If the Board does not approve the initiative, it will be presented to the voters on the General Election ballot. 
  9. If the proposed initiative appears on the General Election ballot, the initiative must be approved by a majority of voters for adoption.

How Do I Create a Political Committee? 

Visit our Committee Information webpage for information on how to create a political committee.

Must I File Reports?

Political committees must file reports using the campaign finance reporting system

In addition, committees must file quarterly reports on the number of petition forms gathered. You will need to file these reports manually with our office.

How Do I Write the Text of my Initiative and Create the Petition Form?

You will need to write the full text of your proposed initiative. It must be about a single subject.

County ordinance initiatives cannot include changes to:

  • County Budget
  • Debt Obligations
  • Capital Improvement Programs
  • Salaries of County Officers and Employees
  • Assessment or Collection of Taxes
  • Zoning of Land

We cannot help you write the language. You may want to work with an attorney to assist you. 

Your petition form must include the following information:

  • A ballot title of 15 words or less
  • A ballot summary of 75 words or less 
  • The full text of the proposed amendment or ordinance
  • Spaces for the following voter information:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Date of Birth
    • Signature and date signed by the voter
  • A political disclaimer reading: Pd. Pol. Adv. Paid for by [name and address of your committee]

We cannot create the form for you. Before you begin circulating the form for signature, you must submit it to our office for review. 

Are There Public Notice Requirements?

You must publish a notice of the petition in a newspaper of general circulation in Leon County. You must do this within fourteen days of submitting the petition to our office. 

Who Can Sign my Petition?

Any voter registered in Leon County can sign your petition. Each voter can only sign once.

How Many Petitions Should I Gather?

For the 2022 Election Cycle, you must have at least 21,745 petitions verified. This is 10% of the number of voters in Leon County as of the 2020 General Election. 

Some petitions you gather may not be valid. We recommend that you gather additional petitions above the minimum to allow for rejected petitions.

The petitions must be distributed in all five County Commissioner districts. See the chart below for the number of petitions in each district. 

County Commission District     

Voter Registration     
2020 General Election     

Required Petitions     

Recommended Petitions

1

39,529

3,953

4,941

2

37,397

3,740

4,675

3

44,223

4,422

5,528

4

48,333

4,833

6,042

5

47,969

4,797

5,996

Total

217,451

21,745

27,181

How Do I Submit Completed Petitions to your Office? 

You can mail the completed petitions to our office or drop them off in-person during normal business hours. You must submit all your initial petitions in one batch. 

What Is the Deadline for Submitting Petitions?

You must submit your initial batch of petitions by noon, January 3, 2022.

If the initial batch does not contain enough valid petitions, we will notify you. You will then have 30 days to submit an additional batch of petitions. 

All the petitions must be submitted within one year of the review of the petition form. 

What is the Cost to Verify Petitions?

Visit the citizen initiatives page to view the cost of petition verification.  We cannot start petition verification until the fee is paid.

If you are unable to pay the cost of verification, you can file an Affidavit of Undue Burden to waive the verification fees. However, if you file an undue burden you cannot pay people to circulate your petition. Also, at the end of the election before you dispose of any remaining funds, you must reimburse our office for the cost of petition verification if sufficient funds remain.

Can you use the Random Sampling Method of Petition Verification?

No. The random sampling method of petition verification cannot be used for Leon County Charter and ordinance initiatives, due to the requirement to have petitions distributed in all five county commission districts. 

How Do You Verify Petitions?

We reject a petition as invalid if:

  • The person signing the petition is not registered to vote in Leon County.
  • The person has already signed the petition. 
  • The petition form has errors. 
  • The petition is incomplete or illegible. 

We will verify the initial batch of petitions within 60 days. If you submit an additional batch of petitions, we will verify them within 30 days.

Once enough valid signatures have been verified in all the County Commission districts, we will pause any further verification and notify you and the Board of County Commissioners. 

References

Leon County Seal

Mark S. Earley
Leon County Supervisor of Elections

OFFICE ADDRESS: 2990-1 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee FL 32301
MAILING ADDRESS: Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office P.O Box 7357, Tallahassee FL 32314-7357
P: (850) 606-8683 | F: (850) 606-8601 | E: Vote@leonvotes.gov | Hours: M - F: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

PLEASE NOTE: Under Florida law, email addresses are public records. If you do not want your email address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. Florida Statute 668.6076.