- A bill proposal filed on Monday would introduce an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the percentage of elector votes required to approve an amendment or revision to the State Constitution
- Presently, a ballot initiative or proposed amendment revision requires 60 percent of votes to pass
- Under the bill, an initiative or revision would need 66.67 percent of votes in order to be adopted
- Should the bill pass, any revision made to a previously-existing amendment would only require approval by a vote of the same percentage that it was originally adopted by
A bill filed late on Monday would introduce an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the percentage of elector votes required to approve an amendment or revision to the State Constitution from 60 percent to 66.67 percent.
As a stipulation, under the proposal, the repeal of an already-existing amendment to or a revision of the state Constitution would only require approval by a vote of the same percentage of electors that it was originally passed under.
To exemplify, if a revision was made to the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative — one of the state’s most prominent Constitutional amendments in recent years — it would require 60 percent of votes in an election, rather than the potentially new 66.67 percent.
However, a potential upcoming amendment, such as one relating to the legalization of sports betting in Florida, would require the increased voter margin.
Democrat pundits were quick to criticize the bill’s filing, taking issue with the extra share of votes that would be needed to pass new ballot initiatives.
“Another bill filed to make it harder for voters to enact change by ballot initiative,” said Brandon Wolf, Equality Florida’s Press Secretary. “All [because] Floridians have successfully used this method to restore voting rights, restrict partisan gerrymandering, and raise the minimum wage. “Freedom” when it’s politically advantageous.”
House Representative Anna Eskamani also weighed in on the bill, taking to Twitter to publicize the filing.
“If approved by the legislature and voters, it’ll make the process of passing ballot amendments in FL much harder,” she said.
In Florida, constitutional amendments can be proposed in a few different ways. The Florida Constitution can be amended by a vote of the people through a constitutional amendment referendum, or by a vote of the Florida Legislature through a joint resolution.
A constitutional amendment referendum can be proposed by gathering signatures from registered voters. To get an amendment on the ballot, sponsors must gather a certain number of signatures, which is based on a percentage of the total votes cast in the last presidential election.
Once the required number of signatures has been gathered, the amendment is placed on the ballot for the next general election. If a majority of voters vote in favor of the amendment, it becomes part of the Florida Constitution.
A joint resolution is another way a constitutional amendment can be proposed in Florida. A joint resolution is a legislative measure that, if passed by both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate and then signed by the Governor, goes directly on the next general election ballot for voter approval.
The Florida Constitution can also be amended by the Florida Supreme Court when it interprets the state constitution on any legal case.
Any Constitutional amendment has to be ratified by the majority of the votes in the next general election to become a part of the constitution.