Along with the presidential, congressional and county elections, six amendments to the Florida Constitution were on the Nov. 3 ballot. Amendments one, two, five and six passed, three and four failed to garner 60% of the vote.
Florida Amendment 1, which passed, will change the Florida Constitution’s wording of “every” to “only” in its definition of who can vote: “Every citizen of the United States who is at least 18 years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law.”
Citizens Voters led the campaign around Amendment 1. The Florida Chapter of the League of Women Voters, as well as the Tampa Bay Times editorial board and many other organizations, said this proposal would change nothing.
“Amendment 1 would make no substantive change to Florida’s constitution, which already limits voting to US Citizens,” the League of Women Voters website says.
Florida Amendment 2, which passed, will raise the minimum wage in Florida to $15 by 2026. Minimum wage in the state is currently $8.56, and with this amendment, it will increase to $10 on Sept. 30, 2021, and a dollar more each year until 2026.
Florida For Fair Wage (FFFW) led the campaign around Amendment 2.
“Amendment 2 would lift pay for hundreds of thousands of Floridians and reverse decades of growing pay inequality,” the FFFW website says. “It allows individuals to take pride in their work rather than fight the endless cycle of poverty. This higher income would also benefit workers’ communities as workers spend their extra earnings.“
Save Florida Jobs (SFJ) opposed Amendment 2, and said that raising the minimum wage would hurt workers and the economy.
“Amendment 2 results in less opportunity for young workers just getting their start or immigrant workers trying to build a new life here in Florida,” SFJ says on one of their websites. “Worse, Amendment 2 will cause prices to rise sharply, driving up the cost of living for middle-class families who already earn over $15 an hour and seniors on a fixed income.”
Florida Amendment 3, which did not pass, would have made a top-two system for primary elections for state legislators, governor and cabinet. Currently in Florida, only voters registered with a political party can vote in the party’s primary. This amendment would change that by making candidates of all political parties on the same primary ballot, and having voters choose their top two choices.
All Voters Vote, Inc. (AVV) led the campaign around Amendment 3.
“Partisan extremism has divided our country and our state, while the major parties are increasingly dominated by their fringes,” AVV says. “Voter isolation and dissatisfaction continue to rise.”
The Democratic and Republican Parties of Florida opposed this amendment.
“This Amendment rewrites our Constitution to completely change Florida’s elections for Governor, Cabinet, and State Legislature,” the Republican Party of Florida says. “It will insert confusion and chaos and undo a system that has worked fairly for years, all in an effort to benefit consultants and special interests.”
Florida Amendment 4, which did not pass, would have required voter-approved constitutional amendments to be passed in two elections.
Keep Our Constitution Clean PC, (KOCP) led the campaign in support of Amendment 4.
“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,” KOCP said on their website.
The League of Women’s Voters, SPLC Action Fund, Policy Policy Institute, and many other organizations opposed this amendment. These organizations said that this amendment would greatly limit voters’ ability to directly pass laws that reflect their values.
The fifth Florida Amendment, which was passed, will extend the time when a person may transfer Save Our Homes benefits to a new primary residence, which is called homestead property, from two years to three years. The benefit ensures that primary residences are not taxed on $25,000 of their value, so a $125,000 house would be taxed on $100,000.
This amendment will reduce local property taxes by as much as $10.2 million, according to Florida State Representative Rick Roth, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board and many others.
It will also give more time for people who sell their houses and take the tax break with them.
One argument against the fifth Florida Amendment is that it will take away funding from tax revenue for public services, such as police, schools and road work, according to the League of Women Voters in Florida.
The last Florida Amendment, which passed, lets a homestead property tax discount to transfer to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. The amendment passed with almost 90% of the vote.