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Vote-by-mail ballot requests getting closer to 1 million

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The number of vote-by-mail ballots requested by voters for the November general election is creeping steadily toward 1 million. The tally, as of Friday, according to the state’s Division of Elections is 834,481. That includes ballots mailed by Florida elections supervisors to service members and others outside the country. Registered Republicans lead Democrats by 348,139 to 327,010, a gap of 21,129. Other party voters are at 21,505 and no-party-affiliated voters are at 137,827. At this point, 44 of the state’s 67 counties have not yet reported ballot figures, according…

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GOP leading Democrats in votes-by-mail

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Republicans are leading Democrats in the number of votes-by-mail already turned in for the 2016 primary election by more than 14,000 ballots. The latest figures were on the state’s Division of Elections website Friday morning. Registered Republicans submitted 98,311 ballots to their county supervisors of elections, with registered Democrats turning in 83,805. Historically, Florida Republicans have had an advantage with vote-by-mail ballots, while the Democrats were stronger with early voting. No-party-affiliated voters tally 24,837, and “other” is at 5,399, according to the website, for an overall…

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Economists uncertain of gambling amendment’s effect

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It’s not clear whether a proposed gambling-control amendment will help or hinder the state’s finances. A panel of state economists stalemated this week on the financial impact of the Voter Control of Gambling amendment. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference’s final report was hand-delivered to Attorney General Pam Bondi and Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Thursday. A summary reads: “The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling…

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Pam Bondi asks court to review gambling initiative

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Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking the state Supreme Court to review a proposed constitutional amendment on gambling. Bondi sent a letter to the court Friday, asking it to judge the initiative’s “validity.” The request, however, is pro forma. It’s required under law when an initiative garners enough signatures. As of Friday, the Voter Control of Gambling amendment had 73,810 valid signatures toward the requirement of 683,149 signatures. It’s aiming to get on the 2018 statewide ballot. The language would “ensure that Florida voters shall have…

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Adam Putnam committee raises $285K in April

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Florida Grown, the fundraising committee that likely will fuel Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam‘s 2018 bid for governor, posted nearly $285,000 in contributions for April. Committees face a deadline for reporting their latest numbers next Tuesday. The committee released its figures early on its own website. April’s fundraising includes a $20,000 check from Hoyt R. Barnett, vice president of Publix Super Markets Inc. The committee also raked in dozens of small contributions of $25, $50 and $100. They came at its annual “Friends of Florida Agriculture Barbecue” on April…

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Adam Putnam political committee tallies $144k for January

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Florida Grown, the fundraising committee that likely will fuel Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam‘s 2018 bid for governor, posted $144,925 in contributions for January, campaign finance records show. The latest haul brings total money raised to more than $4.1 million, with total expenditures now at about $891,000, for a cash-on-hand balance of about $3.2 million. Disney, Florida Phosphate and U.S. Sugar Corp. tied for top contributor, chipping in $25,000 each. Other big contributors include banker Syd Ghermezian of Woodhaven, New York, with $15,000. He’s chairman…

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Solar amendment now at 75 percent of needed signatures

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A proposed constitutional amendment has crossed the 500,000 signatures line on its way to being approved for voter consideration on the 2016 ballot. The utility-backed Consumers for Smart Solar is sponsoring the amendment titled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice.” As of Tuesday morning, it had reported 513,375 valid signatures, according to the state Division of Elections. An initiative needs 683,149 to merit ballot placement. The latest signature tally puts it at 75 percent of its goal. “We are pleased that our signature gathering efforts…

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