Welcome back Residents! If you are joining the party late, please be sure to check out my last review of Amendment 2 – Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage.

Today we find ourselves on Amendment 3. As always, if you have specific questions or comments in regards to these blog posts, head on over to the Contact page and send me a message. I always enjoy researching and answering your questions. Ok, let’s dive in.

Amendment 3

All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet

Ballot Language – “Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held, and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective January 1, 2024.”

As always, you can brush up on the current Amendment VI – Suffrage and Elections- Section 5

Currently, Primary elections in Florida are closed. This means a voter must be registered with a political party in order to vote in the primary election. Once each party has elected their candidate, that candidate advances to the General election where all can vote regardless of party.

Amendment 3 allows all registered voters to vote for any primary candidate regardless of what party they are registered to. Essentially, this allows Independent voters to have a say in the candidate selection process.

So, what does a YES vote mean?

A YES vote means that you agree to make primaries in the State of Florida open to all candidates, with the top two advancing to a runoff in the general election regardless of party.

And how about a NO vote?

A NO vote means that you would keep the current primary system in which each party nominates a candidate for the general election.

  • 21 states conduct open primaries for congressional and state level offices. Alaska law states that political parties can determine for themselves who can participate in their primary elections.
  • 14 states and the District of Columbia have at least one political party that conducts closed primaries for congressional and state level offices.
  • 15 states conduct elections where at least one political party conducts semi-closed primaries for Congressional and state level offices.

The driving force behind Amendment 3 is a group called All Voters Vote, Inc. They have reported $6.29 million in contributions and $6.87 million in expenditures. Miguel “Mike” Fernandes, founder of Immigration Partnership and Coalition (IMPAC) is the largest donor to All voters Vote. Having given $5.9 Million. Fernandez states “Florida is among only a handful of states that do not allow all qualified voters to participate in primaries. How backward is this? Almost a third of voters are registered as neither Democrats nor Republicans”

Opponents of Amendment 3 include the Democratic and Republican Parties of Florida. The Republican Party of Florida said “The proposed amendment would actually abolish party primary elections for certain offices and replace them with free-for-all ‘jungle primaries’.” The Democratic Party said “Amendment 3 purports to create a constitutional system where ‘all voters vote’ in certain primary elections, but it goes a step too far by also eliminating primary election with only two candidates. The creation of nonpartisan blanket primaries is not logically related to the elimination of primary elections in other circumstances.”

According to The Financial Impact Estimating Conference, “the combined costs across counties will range from $5.2 million and $5.8 million for each of the first three election cycles occurring in even numbered years after the amendment’s effective date, with costs for each of the intervening years dropping to less that $450,000.”

So what’s my take on all of this?

Well, it is a complicated topic to work through. Every time I mull it over, I run down a spider web of potential AH-HA moments. I can see a lot of PROS and CONS for this….which at the day leaves me on the fence. Stay tuned as we get closer to election day to see which side of the fence I land on.

Amendment 3 – All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet