Amendment 4
Require Amendments Pass Twice
Results
Response Votes %
Yes 4,842,690 47.53%
No 5,347,025 52.47%
Valid votes 10,189,715 100.00%
Invalid or blank votes 0 0.00%
Total votes 10,189,715 100.00%

2020 Florida Amendment 4 results map by county.svg
Source: Associated Press[1]

2020 Florida Amendment 4 was a proposed amendment to the Constitution of Florida that failed by 52.5% to 47.5% in the 2020 election on November 3, 2020. The amendment would have required new constitutional amendments to be approved by voters twice to become effective.

Overview

Had Amendment 4 passed, it would have required constitutional amendments to be approved by voters at two successive general elections to become effective. Currently in Florida, if voters approve an amendment at one general election, it becomes part of the constitution.[2]

In Florida, constitutional amendments require a 60% supermajority vote to become effective.[2][3][4][5] This requirement was added to the constitution in 2006. Under Amendment 4, the supermajority requirement would apply to both elections.

Background

Florida Amendment 4 is on the Florida ballot because Keep Our Constitution Clean, a PAC run by Jason H. Haber, a Fort Lauderdale attorney[6] and chairman of the Republicans Against Green Energy PAC, spent close to $9 million to gather the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

Impact

The 2020 Florida Amendment 4 (which is separate from the 2018 Amendment 4 working its way through the courts to restore felon voting rights[7]), was a proposed amendment that would have required all future constitutional amendments to be approved in elections twice. Had it passed, the likely outcome of this change would have been fewer amendments proposed and fewer amendments approved. Constitutional amendments need to gather 60% in each voting to be approved.[2][3][4][5]

Florida's current standard of a 60% approval for amendments[4][3] is much higher than the threshold needed in most states. If Florida Amendment 4 passes, Florida would be joining Nevada as the only other state with this requirement, though Nevada only requires amendments to be passed twice with 50%. The president of The League of Women Voters of Florida, Patricia Brigham claims, "This would basically shut the door to citizen groups other than the wealthiest of the wealthy to get an amendment on the ballot, You make it a lot harder for citizens to have their say on issues the legislature does not address. We're non-partisan but when you have a one-party rule no matter what the party for a long, long time, then you cut off a number of voters from having a voice."[8]

Since 1962,[9][10] Nevada has had an incredibly low number of constitutional amendments, with only 14 citizen-initiated amendments passed at the first election, and 12 of those passing at the second round.[11][12] The Florida amendment process would likely follow in Nevada's footsteps with these much lower numbers, should Florida Amendment 4 become law.

The main campaign in support of Florida Amendment 4 is led by Keep Our Constitution Clean PC,[5][13] a PAC run by Matthew Meyers of Miami, and Jason H. Haber and Jason Blank of Fort Lauderdale.[6] Atty. Jason Zimmerman of The PAC states the amendment is necessary to "reduce whimsical constitutional amendments."[5] Zimmerman cited the great difference in number of amendments between the Florida constitution, with 140 amendments since the 1960s, and the US constitution, with 27 since the 1700s.[13] The PAC is backed by a non-profit with essentially the same name, Keep Our Constitution Clean Inc. The non-profit has raised almost $9 million for the campaign, but they have not disclosed who the money is coming from. This lack of information means voters do not know who is funding the campaign and what their motives are.[13]

The main groups campaigning against Florida Amendment 4 include the AFL-CIO, ACLU of Florida,[14] LWVFL,[5][8] BAWN: Ban Assault Weapons Now, SPLC Action Fund, and Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

It takes a multi-million-dollar effort to get enough signatures for an amendment to even make it on the ballot. Out of the six amendments in 2020, two have sponsors that have spent millions to get them on the ballot. Aubrey Jewett, author of the Politics in Florida textbook, says he supported the increase from 50% to 60% voter approval in 2006, but he worries Florida Amendment 4 is taking it too far. He says he is "a little concerned that maybe we're...making it a little too difficult for people to exercise direct democracy", which is "part of the checks and balances in the Florida system."[15]

The Florida constitutional amendment process is one way that Floridians can get their voices heard, and ensure the constitution reflects their values and beliefs. Past citizen-led initiatives include ending smoking in workplaces, curbing property taxes, and putting an end to inhumane animal farms. Florida Amendment 4 would have required amendments to go through the current constitutional amendment process twice in order to get onto the Florida ballot, potentially increasing the time it takes for voter approved changes to be made to the constitution.[2]

As it appeared on the Florida ballot on November 6, 2018, the text of the amendment read:[16]

provided by the Florida Division of Elections.[17] A 60 percent vote in favor was required for approval.

Implementation

·  A "yes" on the ballot supports requiring all proposed future amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. ·  A "no" on the ballot would keep the requirement that all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution be approved by voters in one election, instead of two, in order to take effect.

Opposition

Opponents

Political Parties

Organizations

Arguments

Media editorials

Support

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2020)

Opposition

Campaign finance

One committee is registered to support Amendment 4: Keep Our Constitution Clean PC. The committee reported $165,500 in cash contributions and $8.84 million in in-kind contributions, all from Keep Our Constitution Clean, Inc. The committee reported 160,131.36 in cash expenditures.

Keep Our Constitution Clean PC reported in-kind contributions from Keep Our Constitution Clean, Inc. for signature gathering totaling $8.8 million. The total cost per required signature (CPRS) for Amendment 4 was $11.48.

Support

Committees in support of Amendment 4
Committee Cash Contributions In-Kind Contributions Total Contributions Cash Expenditures Total Expenditures
Keep Our Constitution Clean PC $165,500.00 $8,844,646.76 $9,010,146.76 $160,230.36 $9,004,877.12
Total $165,500.00 $8,844,646.76 $9,010,146.76 $160,230.36 $9,004,877.12

See also

References

  1. ^ "Election Results". Associated Press. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Sangalang, Jennifer. "Amendment 4, vote yes or no on 2020 election? Here's what 10 Florida newspapers recommend". Florida Today. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  3. ^ a b c "Florida could make it tougher to amend state constitution". AP NEWS. 2019-04-02. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  4. ^ a b c "Constitutional Amendments - Division of Elections - Florida Department of State". dos.myflorida.com. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  5. ^ a b c d e "What you need to know about the 6 constitutional amendments on Florida ballots". firstcoastnews.com. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  6. ^ a b Conza, Sabrina. "Dark Money Nonprofit Wants Florida Voters To Vote Twice On Future Amendments". WUFT News. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  7. ^ Mower, Lawrence; Taylor, Langston. "Florida's landmark voting rights amendment was gutted by the Legislature". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  8. ^ a b "Amendment 4 Asks Florida Voters to Make it Harder to Change the Constitution Going Forward". NBC 6 South Florida. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  9. ^ "Initiative and Referendum in the 21st Century". www.ncsl.org. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  10. ^ Mahe, Miranda (14 July 2010). "THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES' ATTEMPT TO REFORM THE INITIATIVE PROCESS". What Nevada Needs to do to Heed the NCSL's Advice. 10:535: 544, seq. 10 – via UNLV Law.
  11. ^ Walker, Steven; Wilder, Anna. "Learn about Amendments 1 and 4, which could change future ballot measures and language in Florida constitution". The Independent Florida Alligator. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  12. ^ "Amendment 4: Should amendments be approved in two elections?". Sun Newspapers. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  13. ^ a b c "Dark money fuels effort to hinder FL citizens from changing Constitution — 'It's just the way it happened'". Florida Phoenix. 2020-10-16. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  14. ^ a b "ACLU of Florida 2020 Ballot Guide". ACLU of Florida. 2020-09-30. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  15. ^ Aboraya, Abe (2020-09-15). "What is Florida's Amendment 4, the Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments?". 90.7 WMFE. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  16. ^ Official Sample Ballot, General Election, November 6 2018, Flagler elections. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  17. ^ Florida Division of Elections, Proposed Constitutional Amendments and Revisions for the 2018 General Election. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  18. ^ "Florida 2020 Amendment Recommendations". Miami-Dade Democratic Party. Miami-Dade Democratic Party. September 23, 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  19. ^ Garcia, Jason. "Secretive group pushing Florida constitutional amendment raised money linked to big businesses | Exclusive". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  20. ^ Freidin, Ellen (September 18, 2020). "As a Floridian, preserve your right to do what politicians won't : Vote No on Amendment 4| Opinion". Miami Herald.
  21. ^ "2020 Ballot Positions Overview". Let Me Vote Florida. Archived from the original on 2020-10-14. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  22. ^ "Vote "NO" on Florida Amendments 1 and 4; one is gimmicky, the other is misleading and dangerous | Editorial". sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  23. ^ "Endorsement: Vote no amendment No. 4, a naked attempt to stop citizens from amending Florida's constitution". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  24. ^ "Our View: Florida constitutional amendment recommendations from our editorial board". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  25. ^ The Miami Herald Editorial Board (October 11, 2020). "Here are our recommendations for Florida's six constitutional amendments | Editorial". Miami Herald.
  26. ^ "Amendment 4 would take power from the people". The Ledger. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  27. ^ "Amendment 4: The Times Editorial Board recommendation". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2020-10-17.