Orange County will appeal to the state Supreme Court in its legal fight with its sheriff, property appraiser and tax collector over nonpartisan elections. The move revealed Monday is the latest in the years-long battle stemming from two countywide votes in 2014 and 2016 on whether elections for six constitutional offices, including comptroller, clerk of the circuit court and elections supervisor, should no longer be partisan. Sheriff Jerry Demings, Property Appraiser Rick Singh and Tax Collector Scott Randolph, all Democrats, sued to overturn the amendments, claiming they violated state law. A circuit court judge agreed and rejected the idea of nonpartisan elections, a ruling upheld by the 5th District Court of Appeal in December.
The Florida Constitution, the three-judge panel wrote, makes clear elections are regulated at the state level, not by county charters.
In a news conference Monday at the Orange County building, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said the county will appeal not only for itself, but also for the other counties in the 5thDistrict that would be unable to hold nonpartisan elections for its offices because of the appeals court ruling.