The following summaries and analyses are adapted and reprinted with permission from the League of Women Voters of Florida. Visit https://www.lwvfl.org/amendments-2020-2/.
Citizen Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections
This amendment provides that only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.
Existing language in the Florida Constitution establishes that only US citizens who otherwise meet voter eligibility requirements such as age and residency will be qualified to vote in Florida elections. This amendment changes Article VI, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution by replacing the phrase “every citizen of the United States” with “only a citizen of the United States.”
The reasoning for this initiative is unclear because passage would make no substantive change to Florida’s constitution.
Supporters say they want to ensure that non-citizens are prevented from voting. Critics say there are very few instances where non-citizens are purposefully on the voter rolls.
Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage
Raises minimum wage to $10 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021. Each Sept. 30 thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation.
This Amendment to Article X, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution provides for incremental minimum-wage increases.
Florida for a Fair Wage, the PAC sponsoring this initiative, is chaired by Orlando attorney John Morgan.
Supporters maintain the current minimum wage of $8.67 per hour ($17,800 per year for a full time worker), is not enough money for a person to live on.
According to the United Way’s Alice report, in 2018, 46% of households still struggled to make ends meet. The Household Survival budget for a single adult in 2018 was $24,600, well above the federal poverty level guideline of $12,760.
Nearly 70% of Americans are in favor of a $15 an hour minimum, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey.
Studies say increasing the minimum wage has little or no detrimental effect on job growth.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce says that increasing the minimum wage will lead to price hikes and the loss of more than 500,000 jobs by 2026.
The Florida Division of Elections estimates it would cost state and local governments $16 million in the first year of implementation and $540 million in 2027.
All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor and Cabinet
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.
Currently, Florida has "closed primaries." A voter must be registered with a party to vote in a party primary election. The winner the partisan primary election advances to the general election.
Beginning in 2024 if Amendment 3 passes, state race primaries would become “top-two” primaries in which the top 2 vote getters would advance to the general election.
This would apply only to state legislative, gubernatorial and state cabinet candidates. The amendment language does not require that a candidate’s party affiliation be shown next to their name on the ballot.
If only two candidates qualify, the primary would be cancelled, and those two candidates would advance to the General Election. This could result in two candidates of the same political party running against one another.
Over 3.8 million of Florida’s nearly 14 million registered voters are shut out during primary elections because they are not affiliated with the two major parties. Young voters make up a large segment of no-party-affiliation voters.
Florida is one of 9 states with closed partisan primaries. Other states that follow the “top two” election system include California, Washington and Nebraska.
Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments
Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.
This initiative would amend Sections 5 and 7 of Article IX of the Florida Constitution to state that if any proposed amendment or revision put on the ballot is approved, it must be placed on the ballot a second time during the next general election occurring at least 10 weeks after the amendment is initially approved.
Amendment 4 would force voters to vote not once, but twice on any constitutional amendment.
The Sponsor of No. 4 is Keep Our Constitution Clean PC, a PAC run by Jason H. Haber, a Fort Lauderdale attorney and chairman of the Republicans Against Green Energy PAC. It has not disclosed a single name of any donor to this effort. This makes it impossible for voters to know who is behind the campaign and what their motivations are.
Supporters say the amendment will cut down on seemingly frivolous changes to the constitution.
Opponents say it would add more burden to an already difficult process for citizens to decide the contents of their constitution.
Limitation on Homestead Exemption
Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution to increase, from two years to three years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new one.
The difference between a home’s adjusted value and the appraised value is the Save Our Homes benefit.
Currently, when a Florida resident moves, they have two years to transfer their Save Our Homes Benefit to a new primary residence.
The proposed change fixes a potential pitfall for portability because homestead exemptions take effect on Jan. 1, meaning the sale of a home late in the year would effectively reduce the portability from two years to little more than one and a few days.
Supporters say the proposed change fixes a potential pitfall for portability.
Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities
Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions.
This would amend Section 6 of Article 7 of the Florida Constitution to allow a homestead property tax discount to be transferred to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran until the spouse remarries, sells or disposes of the property.
Currently, the homestead property tax discount for veterans expires upon their death and is not extended to their spouses. Extending the discount would help disabled veterans’ spouses keep their property taxes lower. As with proposed Amendment 5 this statewide constitutional law limits the ability of local governments to manage their budgets.
Homestead exemption benefits have been improved for veterans three times in recent years, reducing tax revenues each time.