Florida Amendment 3 could allow all Floridians to vote in certain primary elections

Florida Amendment 3 Explained

FLORIDA — Amendment Three could allow all Floridians to vote in certain primary elections. Right now, Florida is a closed primary state. That means if you want to participate, you would have to register officially for a political party, and would be blocked from voting in the other party’s primary. Amendment Three would change that for certain races.

Here’s what Amendment Three says on your ballot:

“Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law.”

Steven Vancore of All Voters Vote, the committee sponsoring the amendment, says this change would allow nonparty-affiliated voters, who’ve been shut out of primaries, to have their voices be heard.

“Irrespective of your party, and you’re a registered voter, you still get the right to vote and choose the person and who represents you in Tallahassee. It works well in our 400-plus municipalities, it works well in most of our counties, it works very well in other states.”

Vancore argues that it also forces those running for office to be accountable to all voters, not just their base.

Democratic Sen. Audrey Gibson of Florida’s 6th district argues that passing this amendment is dangerous because it would have a negative effect on minority representation, and say it goes against the Voting Rights Act.

“The Voting Rights Act is all about minority access, right? And representation by people of color and those people choosing a candidate who understands their issues, right? That they connect to. Then you have someone come and set up a system that totally is against that principle.”

“I don’t know if I buy that argument, but that argument is out there,” says Dr. Matt Corrigan, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Jacksonville University. He thinks the end result would be more voters getting a say.

“We have a good percentage of nonparty-affiliated voters who don’t get to vote in those primaries. I do think this opens it up for them.”

At least 605 voters must approve an amendment for it to pass. If it is approved, it would go into effect, Jan. 1, 2024.