It’s an election year, and that means voters have a lot to think about before casting their ballots in the August and November elections. In every election cycle, citizens have the opportunity to go through the initiative petition process for the opportunity to put Florida constitutional amendments on the ballot as ballot measures.
How does the Petition Process Work in Florida?
Below is an overview of a not-so-quick process.
First, a group that would like to start the initiative petition process forms a political committee, creates the language for the proposed amendment, and begins to circulate petitions. The amount of petitions needed is equal to 8% of the total votes cast in the last presidential election and signatures must be collected in at least 14 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts. In 2020, 766,200 signatures are required.
Next, once the measure has received at least 10% of the signatures needed, the Attorney General petitions the Florida Supreme Court for a sufficiency review of the amendment language and a fiscal impact statement.
When at least 766,200 signatures are verified and the Florida Supreme Court gives the green light, the measure is officially on the ballot.
Status of Amendments to be on the 2020 ballot in November
There are currently three amendments that have the green light:
- Amendment 1 – Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections. This amendment is sponsored by Florida Citizen Voters and provides that only US citizens who otherwise meet voter eligibility requirements (age, residency, etc.) will be qualified to vote in Florida elections. The amendment changes Article VI, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution by replacing the phrase “every citizen of the United States” with “only a citizen of the United States”. The amendment officially became a part of the 2020 ballot on September 19, 2019, and accumulated over 928,000 signatures.
- Amendment 2 – Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage. This amendment is sponsored by Florida For A Fair Wage, a political committee chaired by notable Florida attorney John Morgan of Morgan and Morgan, P.A. The amendment targets Article X, Section 24 of the Florida constitution, and provides for incremental minimum wage increases. Starting on September 30, 2021, Florida’s minimum wage will increase to $10.00 per hour, and will continue to increase by $1.00 per hour on September 30th of each subsequent year until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour in 2026. The increases will then revert to an inflationary increase each year. The amendment officially made the ballot on November 8, 2019, and accumulated over 770,000 signatures.
- Amendment 3 – All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet. This amendment is sponsored by All Voters Vote, Inc., and essentially creates what is referred to as a “nonpartisan blanket primary” or “jungle primary”. This amendment changes Article VI, Section 5, and would allow all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, to run on the primary ballot, and for all eligible voters, regardless of party affiliation to vote for any candidate. The top two candidates from the primary, regardless of party affiliation, would move on to face off in the general election. Currently, Florida has a closed primary system. The amendment officially made the ballot on December 6, 2019, and accumulated over 777,000 valid signatures.
Other Amendments to Watch
As of January 13, 2020, there are two ballot measures that are not yet confirmed on the ballot, but have obtained enough signatures to move on to the language review process. There is still the potential for these measures to be confirmed on the ballot.
The first potential measure is an amendment to Article I, Section 8 that would prohibit the possession of any weapon that was an “assault weapon” as defined in the amendment.
The second potential measure is an amendment to Article XI, Sections 5 and 7 which would require all proposed amendments to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect.