Florida voters to decide whether to require two elections for future constitutional amendments

Amendment 4 on the 2020 ballot will ask voters whether or not to require voter-approved constitutional amendments to be approved by voters at a second general election to become effective. Florida constitutional amendments currently require a 60% supermajority vote at one election to take effect. Under Amendment 4, the 60% supermajority requirement would apply to both elections.

The measure was certified for the ballot on January 31, 2020. Proponents submitted 778,989 valid signatures. To qualify for the ballot, 766,200 valid signatures were required.

Keep Our Constitution Clean PC is leading the campaign in support of the initiative. The group wrote, “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.”

Typically, citizens collect signatures for a petition, and if it meets all requirements and is certified, it will appear on the ballot for a statewide vote. If voters approve the amendment, it becomes part of the constitution. Nevada is the only state where initiated constitutional amendments must be approved at two consecutive elections. This does not apply to legislatively referred constitutional amendments, which must be approved twice by the legislature (with a majority vote) but only once by the state’s voters. A similar amendment is on the 2020 ballot for voters in North Dakota. The North Dakota measure would require initiated constitutional amendments passed by voters to be submitted to the legislature for approval and, unless the legislature approves the measure, require it to be placed on the ballot again at the next statewide election to become effective if approved by the voters a second time.

Two states, Mississippi and Massachusetts, have an indirect process for initiated constitutional amendments. Such amendments proposed by citizens do not go immediately to the ballot after a successful petition drive, rather, they are presented to the state legislature first.

Three other citizen-initiated amendments are on the 2020 ballot in Florida. Amendment 1 would specify that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local, or school elections; Amendment 2 would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026; and Amendment 3 would establish a top-two open primary system for state office primary elections.

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