Today’s entry: I agree with you that the constitutional amendment process has gotten out of hand in Florida. I disagree that either of the ideas you discussed are good solutions. Two elections is overkill. And would a two-thirds vote make that big of a difference since 60% is already needed?
Bottom Line: This question follows my story discussing the two proposed constitutional amendments advanced by the “Keep Our Constitution Clean” PAC. One that would require a two-thirds vote for passage and another than would require a 60% or greater vote in two elections for passage. I indicated that I preferred the two-thirds proposal, but it isn’t close to having enough signatures for consideration next year. The one calling for two elections is currently on track for possible inclusion. Now, about your question as to if the change from 60% to 66.7% support for proposed constitutional amendments would really make a difference.
Last year 11 of the 12 proposed constitutional amendments passed in Florida. Of those 11, only four exceeded two-thirds support. So, while a 6.7% increase in the voting threshold required may not sound huge on the surface, when applied to real-world election results it is. Another way of looking at the difference is like this. 92% of amendments to make the ballot passed. Had the two-thirds threshold been in place only 33% would have passed.
To put this in perspective, the bare minimum cost associated with successfully introducing a proposed constitutional amendment is $1.2 million. The average total expense for proposed constitutional amendments reaching Florida’s ballot now averages more than $10 million. Spending $10 million for something that’s almost certain to pass if on our ballots is a much different conversation than spending that kind of money and effort on something that’s most likely going to fail. In this instance, the difference of 6.7% equals a difference in outcomes of nearly 60%.
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