With Floridians focused on Tuesday’s primary election, the James Madison Institute (JMI) is trying to prepare voters for the November general election when they could be asked to vote on a wide range of constitutional amendments. There could be as many as 13 amendments on the ballot, depending on what the courts decide on legal challenges being made against many of the proposals.
JMI, a nonpartisan research and educational organization that conducts research on such issues as health care, taxes, and regulatory environments, released its 2018 Florida Constitutional Amendment Guide that provides voters with an analysis of each ballot initiative, including the pros and cons of each proposal.
“A well-informed voter is the bedrock of our republic, and it is our hope that The James Madison Institute’s 2018 Amendment Guide will educate voters on the issues present in the upcoming election,” said Bob McClure, president and CEO of JMI. “Educated voters help ensure that Florida will make prudent decisions for our future, and the importance of this year’s election will be examined for generations to come.”
If all 13 amendments make the ballot, it will be the most amendments voters will be asked to decide on since 1998 when the last Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) met. The CRC meets every 20 years to make proposed changes to the constitution. The CRC has approved eight amendments that consist of nearly 20 issues that include banning offshore oil drilling and greyhound racing, charter schools, term limits for school board members and victims’ rights.
Five other amendments that made the ballot through the citizens initiative process include the automatic restoration of felons rights, requiring voters to approve future gaming issues involving the state, and requiring a supermajority vote by the Legislature in order to raise taxes and fees.
“With so much on the line and on the ballot in the 2018 election, it would be easy for voters to ‘check out’ by the time they get to the amendment,” said Sal Nunso, JMI’s vice president of policy. “State Constitutional amendments are in place far longer than any politician. These initiatives are of the highest importance to every Floridian and it’s our responsibility as citizens to weigh each one seriously.”
The constitutional requires 60 percent of the voters to approve an amendment.
JMI’s 2018 Florida Constitutional Amendment Guide can be found here.