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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Floridians will not only be voting to elect state, local and federal leaders this November, they’ll also be asked to weigh in on a number of state amendments, including Amendment 1, which outlines who has the right to vote in the state of Florida.
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The amendment, titled “Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections," would change the state constitution to say that only U.S. citizens who are 18 or older, permanently reside in Florida and are registered to vote are eligible to participate in a Florida election.
You might be thinking, “Aren’t those already the requirements?” And according to Osceola County Supervisor of Elections Mary Jane Arrington, you’re correct.
She says the language can be tricky but the change Amendment 1 would make is actually pretty simple.
“Every citizen of the United States who is at least 18 years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.”
Under the ballot measure, that portion of Florida’s Constitution would instead read like this:
“Only a citizen of the United States who is at least 18 years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.”
“Basically, you already have to be a citizen to vote in the state of Florida, but this is adding the wording ‘only a citizen can vote,’ to the constitution,” Arrington said.
So would this amendment change who is allowed to vote in Florida?
Arrington says no.
“No it does not, because that is one of the things that is required for someone to register to vote today in the state of Florida, is you must be a citizen,” Arrington said.
According to Arrington, the amendment is “just adding words" and is "not going to change anything if it passes or not.”
Still, voters can expect to see it on their ballot come Nov. 3 and should know how to mark their ballot according to which way they’d like to vote on the measure.
Here’s how you should vote on the measure, depending on whether you support or oppose it, according to Ballotpedia.
- A “yes” vote supports amending the Florida Constitution to state that “only a citizen” of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in Florida.
- A “no” vote opposes amending the Florida Constitution, thus keeping the existing language that says “every citizen” of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in Florida.
A 60 percent supermajority vote is required for the approval of Amendment 1, which is sponsored by the political committee Florida Citizen Voters.
Amendment 1 is one of six amendments Florida voters can expect to see on their ballot in the general election, and the language included with the other ballot measures may be just as difficult for voters to interpret on Election Day, which is why they’re encouraged to brush up on the ballot measures before heading to the polls.
Election Day is Nov. 3.