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CRC Postpones Vote on Proposal 97

March 20th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

When you skip an item on the ballot should it be counted as a no vote?

Some members on the state’s Constitution Revision Commission think so.

 

 

After voters approved smaller classroom sizes in 2002 with 52% of the vote, then Governor Jeb Bush and the Legislature campaigned for and won a ballot initiative raising the threshold to 60 percent.

Now, there’s a new push to raise the standard again.

Aliki Moncrief with the Florida Conservation Voters says it’s because voters have continued to approve initiatives to lawmakers dismay, like medical marijuana and increased funding for land acquisition.

 

“There’s been a constant chipping away at the ability of citizens to basically take their issues directly to voters,” said Moncrief.

Proposal 97 being considered by the Constitution Revision Commission would still require future amendments to get 60% approval, but blank votes would count as no votes.

 

“This proposal really is about hearing more of citizens’ voices,” said Commissioner Belinda Keiser.

Supporters argue a blank vote means a person doesn’t believe an issue is important enough to be included in the constitution. Opponents say that’s not the case.

 

“I shouldn’t have the Government telling me that it’s a no vote, because I wanted to put my vote in the hands of my fellow citizens,” said Commissioner Bob Solari.

Of 22 constitutional amendments passed by voters since 2006, only ten would have passed if the higher standard were in place at the time.

Due to a lack of support the higher threshold was temporarily postponed before a vote was taken.

The proposal could be brought back up for a vote before the commission ends its business in May.

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