Florida Amendment 1: Citizenship requirement to vote

Florida Amendment 1 Explained

FLORIDA — Amendment 1 would add two words to the state constitution, clarifying that only citizens are allowed to vote in Florida. This is interesting, because that’s already the case in Florida.

Here’s what the language will say when you see amendment on your ballot:

“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.”

"It’s not a big change. I believe it changes the word every citizen to a citizen.” Dr. Matt Corrigan, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Jacksonville University, says the law in Florida is pretty clear.

“It’s just reemphasizing this is a citizenship requirement to vote. You already have to have that. I don’t think it’s really a necessary amendment.”

That’s something the amendment’s creator, John Loudon with Florida Citizen Voters, strongly disagrees with. “The problem is the constitution. Everybody thought he had to be a citizen. The constitution says that all citizens are electors, but it doesn’t say noncitizens are not elected.”

Unlike many other amendments, there is no opposition group in Florida. No one is campaigning for noncitizens to have a right to vote.

“It’s probably because everybody thinks that is the law and should be the law. And so this is really just a clarification of what everybody agrees. You should have to be a citizen to vote.”

Action News Jax asked Loudon if this amendments plays into a mindset put out by President Donald Trump, who has cast doubt on the legitimacy of our electoral process. “I’ve heard the cynical argument that this is somehow supposed to help President Trump. I think, in fact, our polling shows that that the strongest support for this is naturalized citizens regardless of party.”

Dr. Corrigan says, “It probably passes, because people want to make sure you need to be a citizen to vote.” At least 60% of voters must approve an amendment for it to pass.

At least 60% of voters must approve an amendment for it to pass.