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Court orders election supervisor not to certify vote on Orange County rent stabilization

File photo
File photo

Orange County's effort to control rising rents -- part of its response to the affordable housing crisis -- took another hit in court Thursday.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey Ashton issued a temporary injunction ordering the supervisor of elections and canvassing board not to certify the vote on a referendum limiting rent increases at multi-unit apartments.

The referendum will stay of the ballot, but if it passes, it can't be enforced -- unless the county successfully appeals or wins its case.

Realtors and apartment owners tried to keep rent stabilization off the ballot, but it's too late for that, now that voting is underway.

Ashton made the ruling after an appeals court overturned his earlier decision not to cancel the referendum. The Fifth District Court of Appeal  found last week that the language voters see on the ballot omits key information and is therefore misleading.

In a prepared statement, Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said he'll follow the order but that voters should “continue to vote on all election contests on their ballot.”

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.