What is Amendment 3?
Amendment 3 is a proposed amendment to Florida’s Constitution that would let all voters vote in primary elections for legislature, governor, and cabinet, regardless of the political party affiliation of the voter or candidate. No voters are excluded based on party affiliation. This means you can vote for the candidates of your choice, regardless of party membership.
Who benefits from Amendment 3?
All of us.
There are currently 3.6 million non-affiliated voters in Florida. They represent 27% of the electorate and are currently barred from voting in primary elections. Amendment 3 gives them the right to vote.
Amendment 3 also offers every party member-Republican, Democrat and 3rd party-real choice for the first time. With open primaries, everyone can vote for the best candidate, regardless of party, and politicians will be accountable to all of their constituents-not just the partisan special interests.
Are top two primary elections new?
Not at all. Most Florida cities have been using top two open primaries for years, and citizens overwhelmingly prefer them. In fact, 85% of all US cities use top two open primaries.
Nebraska has used this method for electing state representatives since 1936. Washington and California have been using the top two open primary for all elections for over a decade, and Louisiana uses a modified version.
How will Amendment 3 affect the political parties?
Allowing all qualified registered voters to vote in taxpayer funded elections will not impact the existence of political parties in any way nor will it hurt voters who enjoy belonging to a political party. Parties will still have all the rights they currently have – as they should. This initiative will allow them to operate as they always have, with one notable exception: in taxpayer-funded public elections, they cannot exclude qualified registered voters from voting. Parties will of course retain the right to nominate their own candidate for an election, but they cannot use taxpayer funded primary elections to do so.
Why should voters who are not members of my party be allowed to select my party’s nominee?
They won’t. Amendment 3 eliminates closed party primaries and replaces them with one open public primary where all the candidates are on the ballot with their party affiliation and all voters vote. Parties are still free to nominate their candidates, just not on the taxpayer’s dime.
Can top two primaries result in two candidates from the same party?
Yes, occasionally. In districts that are heavily Republican or heavily Democratic, that’s a possibility. And why shouldn’t it be? A party that isn’t competitive in a particular district shouldn’t be guaranteed a place on the ballot when they can’t win. Voters deserve real choices in their elections. In fact, you’re guaranteed to have more Democrat v Republican races in a top two system because high competition guarantees few elections with candidates running unopposed.
Who supports this proposed amendment?
Voters. Whether members of a political party or not, most people have an innate belief in the sanctity of the vote and agree that barriers to participation, in any instance, is wrong. Recently polling data reflects this view across the political spectrum.
Who opposes Amendment 3?
Party insiders and special interests. The leadership of both major parties seek to maintain the status quo. Under the current system, they can easily control the outcomes of low turnout, closed primaries and can continue to govern without accountability-except to the special interests they hold dear.
Still have questions? Watch a fun animation about how top two open primaries would work in Florida