Q&A of the Day – A second look into Florida’s Amendment 4
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1
Today’s entry: Thank you for your work on the amendments. It’s helpful to have added perspective I trust when making those decisions. I do have a question for you regarding Amendment 4. You stated you’d prefer a proposal that’d raise the threshold for amendments to pass to two-thirds from the current 60%. I agree we should raise the threshold for amendments but question how effective raising to two-thirds would be. That’s only a 6.7% increase. That’s why I’m planning on voting in favor of 4. I’d like to hear you discuss this.
Bottom Line: On the surface raising the threshold for Constitutional Amendments to pass in Florida by 6.7% might not sound substantial. In reality it is. I’ll explain in a moment but first to catch up anyone who didn’t catch my Amendment 4 story... In my breakdown of Amendment 4 I said this: In my view we should raise the threshold for amending our state’s constitution. Forcing Floridians to potentially vote multiple times for the same proposal is inefficient, leading to additional costs, and unprecedented. Last year there was a proposal which would have raised the threshold in Florida to two-thirds, or 66.7% support, mirroring the threshold for the federal Constitutional Amendments in Congress. It didn’t garner the necessary support to make its way onto our ballot. I would have supported that proposal. So, to specifically address your question about the impact raising the threshold to 66.7% would make...consider this:
In 2018, 11 of the 12 proposed constitutional amendments passed in Florida. Of those, only four exceeded two-thirds support. So, while a 6.7% increase in the voting threshold required may not sound huge on the surface, when applied to real-world election results it is. Here’s another way of looking at the impact. 92% of the proposed amendments on the ballot passed two years ago. Had the two-thirds threshold been in place only 33% would have passed. Additionally, when talking about reform for amending Florida’s Constitution, I feel it’s wise to take the lead from our founders. Florida’s current standards are arbitrary as is the Amendment 4 proposal calling for two elections to pass amendments. I ascribe to originalist principals in constitutional matters. I’d prefer to use the threshold the founders of the country thought appropriate vs. a number or process which lacks precedent. Hopefully that explanation illustrates my line of thinking in addition to directly illustrating the meaningful impact of raising the threshold to a two-thirds vote.