The 2020 Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 1
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Bottom Line: This is the first in a six-part series covering Florida’s six proposed constitutional amendments for the 2020 Election cycle. Each proposed amendment requires a minimum of 60% support to pass. Here’s how it will appear on the ballot:
No. 1 Constitutional Amendment
BALLOT TITLE: Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections
BALLOT SUMMARY: This amendment provides that only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.
Florida’s Constitution currently states: Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.
What would change if this Amendment were to pass? “Every citizen” would be replaced with “Only a citizen”. On the surface that may seem like semantics. In fact, that’s the argument against this proposed amendment which opponents frequently cite. For drill let’s look at the difference between the word every and only.
1. all possible; the utmost.
1. alone of its or their kind; single or solitary.
Side by side the difference between these two terms is evident. Every is an expansive term, while only is a limiting term. The reason this distinction is sought is due to liberties taken by 13 cities around the country, most notably Chicago and San Francisco, which have allowed illegal immigrants to participate in elections as “citizens of those cities”. Two states, Arizona and North Dakota, have adopted the exact language sought by proposed Amendment 1.
Final Thoughts: The purpose behind this proposed Amendment is to mitigate the risk of non-citizens voting in Florida’s elections. While it’s arguable that this proposed amendment may not be necessary, the principal argument by those who oppose it is illustrated to be incorrect. There is a difference in definition between every and only. There is nothing more important than election integrity. We’ve experienced numerous efforts in our state to usurp the lawful election process in recent years. Over the last ten years alone, Florida has had 19 successfully prosecuted cases of voter fraud. Notably Broward and Palm Beach County had their Supervisors of Elections removed due to irregularities. If the change wouldn’t mean much, as the detractors suggest, then what’s the harm in passing this Amendment? If it does matter as other states and the backers of this proposal suggest it does – the potential to thwart non-citizens from voting in Florida is a worthy one. Especially given the extensive efforts by some to unlawfully influence our elections. For those reasons I recommend a Yes vote on Amendment 1.