Each election cycle typically brings a number of proposed amendments to our state constitution. These amendments take the form of ballot initiatives that require 60 percent approval from voters. For many voters, the ballot language is often confusing and frustrating.

The Florida constitutional amendments project tries to assist voters by making the amendments easier to understand through non-partisan assessment and analysis. The intent of the project is not to argue for or against any particular amendment but rather to clarify each amendment’s implications; to provide relevant background and factual information; and to summarize the arguments made by both proponents and opponents. In doing so it tries to encourage voters to make an informed choice that reflects their values and judgment. In addition to providing amendment-specific information and analysis, the website also offers an overview of the Florida Constitution and the process by which it can be amended. In the future, the website will be expanded to offer additional historical background and some comparative assessments of our state constitution vis-a-vis those of other states.

Voters will find three proposed amendments on the ballot this year:

Amendment 1 asks voters whether they want to dedicate a third of the documentary stamp tax assessed on property sales to a fund that will purchase and/or improve environmentally sensitive lands;

Amendment 2 asks voters whether the state should allow marijuana to be sold legally to patients suffering from certain medical conditions; and

Amendment 3 asks voters whether an outgoing governor should appoint justices when the terms for those justices expire on the same day a newly elected governor is inaugurated.

Each of these amendments have important implications for our state. We hope you take the time to inform yourself before you vote. And please do exercise your right to vote.

Much of the background information from this site can be found on the Florida Department of Elections website. Official documentation on all of the 2014 ballot amendments can be found through their Constitutional Amendments and Referendum webpage.

Dr. Frank Alcock, an associate professor of political science at New College of Florida and a former senior fellow with the Collins Center for Public Policy, is responsible for the content of this website.

Questions can be directed to flamendments@gmail.com.

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