Florida voters' right to participate directly in our democracy is protected by Florida’s constitution. Yet, Ballot Initiative #4 would impede that right and make it twice as hard and twice as expensive for Floridians’ voices to be heard. Ballot Initiative #4, disingenuously and misleadingly titled “Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments,” is a cynical political effort to obstruct voters’ ability to pass future constitutional amendments, even those with support from a supermajority of voters. This ballot initiative disregards the will of the people and renders their voices mute on the very issues they care about most.
Essentially, an amendment approved by the people would not count unless it passed a second time in the next election. In other words, it negates the will of the people and requires them to try again a second time in order to get something passed.
In reaction to the growing influence of corporate entities and private special interests in the halls of government, and the failure of leadership to meet the basic needs of everyday Floridians, the citizens’ initiative process allows Floridians to have their voices be heard and to shape their government directly. Through exercising this political power, Florida’s residents are able to directly enact reform measures when elected officials fail to align with the will of the people. Over the last several years, Floridians have voted for constitutional amendments to raise the minimum wage, strengthen water and land conservation, legalize medical cannabis, end gerrymandering, and restore voting rights for 1.4 million returning citizens. In each case, legislators resisted following the will of the people.
Only one other state, Nevada, has a similar system to the one proposed in Initiative #4. And in nearly every case, the duplicative election only increased cost and time to passage.
Ballot Initiative #4 would weaken our democracy by silencing citizens’ initiatives and rendering irrelevant our constitutional right to have a say. This anti-voter ballot amendment serves one purpose: block Floridians and grassroots organizations’ ability to enact the people’s will into law.
- Undermines the power of direct democracy afforded to Floridians by our state constitution
- Makes it twice as hard and twice as expensive for Floridians’ voices to be heard
- Favors special interest groups wealthy enough to sustain two state-wide ballot campaigns
- Delays implementation of a passed voter initiative for two years at best or indefinitely if unable to afford a repeat campaign
- Strengthens politicians’ and special interests’ control over government
- Wastes public funding on repeat elections
Florida’s power is in its people. Floridians voices and votes must be respected. We mean what we say the first time. Vote “No” on Ballot Initiative #4.