Allowing skilled people to vote seems like a simple premise.
Unfortunately, this is not how we conduct elections in Florida. For those who wish to vote for their next member of the State House or Senate or for Governor or Cabinet members, surprising as it sounds, the truth is that most voters are excluded from voting in elections. financed by the taxpayers who most often determine the winner.
All Voters Vote is a proposed constitutional amendment that is based on the simple premise that every qualified registered voter in Florida should be allowed to vote in all public elections. For too long, too many voters – and to be clear, we’re talking about those who are already registered to vote – have been legally prohibited from voting for the person who will represent them in Tallahassee.
How can this be?
Florida is one of nine states in the United States to have a restrictive process whereby election candidates are elected by a tiny fraction of the electorate in closed partisan primaries. And as if to rub salt on the wounds of these excluded voters, their tax money is being used to organize these elections behind closed doors.
The All Voters Vote initiative, Amendment # 3, will eliminate Florida’s closed partisan primary system and end the chronic deadlock and hyper-partisanship by forcing politicians to respond to every voter they represent and not only to that tiny shard of the far left or the far right.
Consider this: today, more than 3.8 million voters in Florida were effectively disenfranchised by this system because they chose to belong to none of the major political parties. By selecting, for example, “No Party Affiliation” (NPA), registered voters are legally prohibited from voting in primary elections which almost always determine who will represent them in Tallahassee. This is clearly unfair and should be sufficient reason to vote for the All Voters Vote initiative. But – and this is vital – they are not the only ones who can sincerely exclaim: “No taxation without representation! In almost all state legislative constituencies, those who choose to belong to a major political party are also excluded if they live in a constituency where they are not members of the dominant party.
Why should the right to vote be reserved only for those who belong to a political party? And why should those party voters also be excluded from the result vote simply because they are not in the majority party in their constituency?
Our system makes no sense and denying registered voters the right to vote has had profoundly negative effects on our democracy.
The All Voters Vote amendment simply says that in taxpayer funded public elections all voters are allowed to vote. The candidates appear on a joint ballot and the first two voters appear on the general election ballot where voters, once again, have the option of choosing who will represent them in our state capital.
The first two system is nothing new – it is already in place in Florida for more than 400 municipalities and counties, as well as for court races and special districts. In fact, more people are already elected in Florida using a first two vote system than in our legislative races. It is common and well accepted by voters. More importantly, it is a proven success because these candidates cannot hide in partisan silos and must respond to every voter they represent. As a result, they are not only more receptive to their constituents, but they are able to put principle ahead of party and place individual interests above narrow partisan interests on the extreme fringes of either. other party.
This is why we are asking voters to learn as much as possible about the All Voters Vote initiative and to vote Yes on Amendment 3 to ensure that they and all other voters are not excluded from funded elections. by taxpayers. To learn more, visit www.AllVotersVote.org.
Glenn Burhans is the chair of the All Voter Voting Committee and can be contacted by email at GBurhans@StearnsWeaver.com.