Florida Amendment 3: Battle wages on to knock open primary measure off ballot

8 On Your Side

The Republican-backed lawsuit pits the DeSantis administration against his own party

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A last-minute “ballot battle” over Florida’s Amendment 3 is still waging before the state Supreme Court.

If passed, Amendment 3 would open up Florida’s primaries to all voters. The two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party, would then face off in the general election.

Amendment 3’s sponsor, All Voters Vote, believes non-party affiliated voters should be included in primary elections and that open primaries would end extreme partisanship.

However, groups like the Florida NAACP and League of Women Voters condemn the measure, claiming it could make it harder to elect minority candidates.

A last-minute legal challenge to Amendment 3 seeking to stop counting Amendment 3 votes was filed last week by the Central Florida Urban League.

The lawsuit is GOP-funded but has bipartisan support, including incoming Florida House speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and State Senator Janet Cruz, D-Tampa.

“It’s just too easy for parties to figure out how to manipulate the ballot,” Cruz said.

The Republican-backed lawsuit pits the DeSantis administration against his own party. Secretary of State Laurel Lee fired back in court this week, arguing the pandemic has made the election confusing enough and that not counting the votes for Amendment 3 will only create more confusion.

As of Thursday, more than 4 million ballots had been in cast in Florida by either early voting or mail-in voting, according to the state Division of Elections.

“The point of an election is to hear the will and voice of the people,” said Tampa voter Josh Mitchell, who 8 On Your Side spoke with outside the Amalie Arena early voting site.

Mitchell said he isn’t sure if he agrees with Amendment 3, but this game in the game, definitely doesn’t agree with tossing the measure out.

“If people already voted, changing the ballot after, that doesn’t make much sense to me,” he said.

Amendment 3’s challengers have until Friday to file a rebuke to the state’s response in court. A previous Amendment 3 challenge was denied by the Florida Supreme Court earlier this year.

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