Posted by Russell Daniels on December 09, 2020 at 12:36 PM
After Amendment 3 failure, what’s the plan for disenfranchised voters?
(12/8/2020) Amendment 3, which mandated a “top-two” primary for elections, earned 57% of Florida voters’ support last month. More of us voted for it than voted for either Biden or Trump. A majority of our citizens want to let all voters vote in publicly funded primaries whether or not they are party members or independent.
That number is in spite of a well-funded campaign of misinformation run by the Democratic and Republican parties and their associated special interests. They created just enough doubt to rob the people of Florida of reaching the 60% threshold for a constitutional amendment to pass.
The groups that opposed Amendment 3 profess to support inclusivity of all voters and claim that voter access improves election outcomes, creates accountability and forces politicians to work for the people rather than the other way around. All these groups say there’s a better way. So, I ask of them all — what is your plan?
So now that 3 has been defeated, what is the state parties’ plan? (Hint: They don’t have one. The current situation makes their jobs easier).
The League of Women Voters, which originally supported Amendment 3 after a multi-year member-led process showed its benefit, flip-flopped and came out against the amendment. The LWV’s mission statement on their website reads “We challenge all efforts and tactics that threaten our democracy and limit the ability of voters to exercise their right to vote.” Later, it says, “We work year-round to combat voter suppression through advocacy, grassroots organizing, legal action and public education.”
So, I must ask the League: What is your plan for the 4 million independent voters who can’t vote?
In the ACLU position on voting rights, they declare, “Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. The ACLU works to protect and expand Americans’ freedom to vote.” The NAACP and the Florida League of Conservation Voters offer similar platitudes.
All three opposed Amendment 3, so I ask again, what is your plan? Four million voters — including 1.5 million of color — still can’t vote in primaries. Do you have a plan to enfranchise them? Do you really care about democracy, or do you only care about the voting rights of Floridians who opt to join a political party?
Let’s not forget the 160 state legislators, three Cabinet members and the governor, all of whom remained silent on this issue. Many politicians indicated to me that they supported and would personally vote yes on 3, but asked that I not draw them in publicly. They did not want to risk angering party leaders. What’s your plan, elected leaders, who are supposed to speak on behalf of the people? To continue to stay silent on the enfranchisement of your fellow citizens?
Amendment 3 has come and gone. Four million independent voters remain unable to vote. It’s the largest act of voter suppression in our state. But the movement to make this right is growing. And we want answers.
Dr. Jeffrey Solomon is chair of Florida Open Primaries. Now a registered independent voter, he is a former Miami-Dade Democratic Party organizer and candidate for Florida House of Representatives, District 115.