The 2020 Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 4
Bottom Line: This is the fourth 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. 4 Constitutional Amendment
BALLOT TITLE: Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments
BALLOT SUMMARY:Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.
This proposed Amendment, supported by the organization “Keep Our Constitution Clear”, would literally require a 60% plus vote in two separate elections in order for changes to our state’s constitution to take effect. The reason for this as stated by Keep Our Constitution Clear is... Our goal is to ensure that voters are given the opportunity to fully understand the immediate and future impacts of any proposed changes to our state constitution. The purpose of this proposed amendment is to allow for additional vetting of any proposed amendment prior to its passage. In this instance by adding a second election in which only the constitutional amendments clearing 60% in the first election would be considered.
Final Thoughts: This proposed amendment is one in which I agree with the premise but not the execution. I’ll explain. Florida’s Constitution isn’t something to be taken lightly. The threshold for Constitutional Amendments to the US Constitution is an extremely high threshold, two-thirds vote in both chambers in Congress, for a reason. Constitutional Amendments at the federal or state level shouldn’t be taken lightly. In recent cycles we’ve seen a proliferation of special interests which have realized that well-funded populist campaigns can net the 60% vote necessary to make changes to Florida’s Constitution. Many of those campaigns have been led by leftists looking to side-step the legislative process in our state with Republican majorities in our state’s government. Consider that in 2018, eleven of the twelve proposed Amendments passed in Florida. 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. This one did instead. That’s unfortunate in my view. While I believe the threshold for proposed Amendments should be raised in Florida, this isn’t the right way to do it. As a result, I hope the two-thirds proposal makes a comeback next cycle and recommend a No vote on Amendment 4 this year.