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Activists In Miami-Dade Ask: What's The Holdup On Campaign Finance Petitions?

David McDougal
New Florida Majority
Gihan Perera, of the New Florida Majority, delivers a letter at the county Elections Department

  Activists who spent months collecting signatures for an initiative to limit political contributions by people who make their living off of county contracts say county officials are holding up the process to get the initiative on the November ballot.

The initiative would ban groups that make more the $250,000 off of county business from donating to candidates for county offices.“People are tired of corruption, and what they see as a rigged system,” says Gihan Perera, executive director of the New Florida Majority, which coordinated the petition drive. “They want big money influences to be out so that the representatives they elect directly represent their interests.”

More than 127,000 petitions were submitted to the County Elections Department on Aug. 2, kicking off the 30-day period the county has to count and verify them. More than a week later, the supervisor of elections is still awaiting orders from the County Commission to begin the count.

“It’s a pretty simple thing to do,” Perera says.  “There should be no excuse that someone isn’t telling the supervisor of elections right now, 'go ahead and do your job.' ”

Organizers worry time is running out to get the measure on the ballot ahead of November’s election. On Thursday, they converged at the elections offices in Doral to ask Supervisor of Elections Christina White to begin the count, with or without marching orders from the County Commission.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez said  that the petitioners deserve their “day in court,”  but that the law on the process is unclear. He called for a special meeting of the County Commission to address the matter. Commissioners tried that once already this week, but not enough of them showed up to constitute a quorum.