MIAMI — New Florida Majority released the following statement attributable to its Executive Director Gihan Perera in response to the Board of County Commissioners vote to start the counting process for 127,000 petitions for more accountable and transparent county elections.

“Yesterday was a historic achievement for democracy in Miami-Dade County, when the Board of County Commissioners, in a rare emergency meeting, voted unanimously 9–0 to start the counting process for 127,000 petitions signed by Miami-Dade voters. This citizen-led initiative is unprecedented and so is the burgeoning democratic movement that has awoken here in Miami-Dade.

“This victory is because of the actions of of thousands of Miami-Dade residents and allies across the country. The power of the people prevailed. The outpouring of phone calls, emails, tweets and messages both showed public outrage, but also tremendous desire for reform of big money in politics. As one commissioner told us, “you have awakened the sleeping giant.”

“Just two weeks ago, the media pegged this initiative as dead in the water after the mayor’s inaction and the county commission’s failure to make quorum to start the counting process. Now, the petitions are being counted. It is a breath of possibility and hope for change. We are fully prepared for this to go on the ballot in November, but it’s clear there will be obstacles on the path to final victory. Despite voting in favor of counting, several commissioners expressed varying shades of resistance to the measure, and the county attorney and Supervisor of Elections are going to fight this hard. But so will we.

“We have awakened not only the backbone of Miami-Dade—its voters—but we’ve also gotten the attention of lobbyists, developers, and corporations who have no interest in reform. Our first test will be ensuring that this is on the agenda for the next commission meeting on Sept. 7. The second will be having enough supporters to overcome the opposition of county officials.

“Now more than ever we need to continue to build, broaden and deep our coalition. We have to be unified and show up, speak up and keep the pressure on!”