Orange Co. commissioners vote in favor of proposed amendment

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

Orange County commissioners voted in favor of a proposed amendment that could cut Mayor Teresa Jacobs' term in half.

Voters will get to decide whether future county elections should be partisan.

The big concern commissioners had was whether people will understand the language on the November ballot. A number of them questioned that, but ultimately decided to let it go through.

"Thousands of Orange County voters signed a petition to have a question put on the ballot in November because they want more transparent elections and engage more people voting for our elected officials," said Sean ashby with Citizens for Informed Elections.

One of the main supporters of the measure told commissioners his PAC has collected more than 50,000 signatures necessary to put it on the ballot. That PAC was sponsored by tax collector Scott Randolph to push the petition.

Jacobs argued the way the amendment is written is not transparent. The amendment would make the mayor's race a partisan one.

Part of the amendment states elections for all charter offices elected countywide shall be held in 2016 and every four years thereafter.

The only position that fits the criteria is the mayor's position. That means Jacobs, who is running unopposed, wouldn't get her full term, which should end in 2018.

Commissioners on Tuesday said they feel it's misleading voters to not explicitly say that change only impacts the mayor's position.

"You sold this to those voters as a partisan election. Do you think people actually know it would limit Mayor Jacobs' next term?" asked WFTV reporter Karla Ray.

 "Sure. Absolutely. That is part of the ballot language there," said Ashby.

Commissioner Ted Edwards was the only person who voted not to put the amendment on the ballot.

Other commissioners didn't like the verbiage either, but said since the PAC got the required signatures, they needed to honor that.