On the Ballot: Florida Amendment 3 analyzed by Jerry Holland

If Amendment 2 got you fired up wait for Amendment 3 it is a major change to our voting. This is a personal perspective of Amendment 3 for your consideration.

Amendment 3 is a citizen-sponsored amendment sponsored by “All Voters Vote, Inc.”. The amendment changes how Florida primaries for Governor, Cabinet members and Legislature elections are held. If approved, it would place all candidates of their particular race on the ballot together regardless of party and allow all voters to vote for the candidate of their choice. (their party would be indicated on the ballot)

It would also allow those registered as No Party Affiliation and in minor parties to vote in the primary.

If only 2 candidates were running in a particular race, they would both advance to the general election. When there is a write-in candidate, they would be placed on the ballot in the primary and primaries could never be closed off for only one party to vote in.

Mike Fernandez, the founder of the Immigration Partnership and Coalition (IMPAC) Fund is the largest donor to All Voters Vote, Inc. having given $5.9 million in support.

Opponents of Amendment 3 include the Democratic and Republican Parties of Florida. Who says the parties never agree on anything. Minority legislators like Fla Senator Gibson, says it will cause diminishment of minority representation, although the open primary system in California has not diminished minority representation. Some say that is an unfair comparison because Florida voters are more evenly split.

Current primary system allows the voters of its party to decide how conservative or liberal they want their candidates.

Amendment 3 would allow voters of any party or no party to vote for whomever they desire.

Some believe this will prevent candidates who are far right or far left from being elected. However, even though it does allow everyone to vote, it does not address campaign finance reform, where at the end of the day, the money spent on a campaign has often been the biggest impact to election outcomes.Like any political process it can be manipulated so that when multiple candidates of one party runs against one candidate of a different party you may see some voters vote to get the weakest candidate for their party candidate to face in the general election.

The bottom line is, neither party trust what the voters with No Party Affiliation will do, after all those voters did not want to be associated with either party affiliation to begin with.I

f you like the candidates that the current system produces in partisan primaries, with sometime closed primaries, where many voters never have the opportunity to vote for who is elected, keep the current system and VOTE NO.

If you want to allow everyone to participate and vote for their representative and possibly elect fewer candidates that are very conservative or very liberal depending on party, VOTE YES.

The amendment requires 60% of the vote to be approved.

Jerry Holland serves as Duval County’s Property Appraiser. Prior to this position, Jerry served as Supervisor of Elections for ten years, restoring trust in local elections. During that time he registered more than 64,415 students in Countywide Student Voter Registration Drives. His office was known for having the most current election system for tabulation and voter check-in in the state, welcoming over 68 countries visiting from around the world to see how successful elections were conducted.


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