The Florida Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up a legal battle about a voter-approved change that called for Orange County constitutional officers to be chosen in non-partisan elections.
Justices issued a brief order accepting the case, though they did not immediately set a date for oral arguments.
Orange County voters in 2014 supported revamping the county charter to include non-partisan elections for the clerk of circuit court, comptroller, property appraiser, sheriff, supervisor of elections and tax collector.
Constitutional officers filed a lawsuit, and a circuit judge rejected the change, concluding that the issue was “preempted” to the Legislature.
A three-judge panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal in December upheld the circuit judge’s ruling, leading the county to take the issue to the Supreme Court.
In a brief filed in January, the county said the case could also have implications for other parts of the state.
“The issue of whether the voters in Orange County can adopt a charter amendment which designates the selection of county constitutional officers by way of nonpartisan election is an issue of statewide importance. … The decision of the Fifth District infringes upon the broad home rule authority provided to counties under the Florida Constitution … and has the potential to jeopardize the enforceability of charter provisions in other charter counties,” the brief said.
“For example, the counties of Columbia, Lee, Leon, Orange, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Polk, and Wakulla are examples of charter counties across the state which have adopted charter provisions providing for the election of one or more governmental officials on a nonpartisan basis, which this decision has a potential to impact.”