How would Amendment One change Florida Constitution?

If passed, change would go into effect Jan. 1
Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 18:21:11-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Amendment One is among the six amendments on the November election ballot in Florida, but some voters have been confused by what it will accomplish.

"I think as a voter it's a little bit confusing, the wording and what the difference is," said registered voter Shairah Khan.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Elections 2020

To understand the importance of Amendment One, you have to know where to look.

"I agree the wording is a little confusing, but I agree that everyone who is a U.S. citizen should have the right to vote," said registered voter Derik Barbieri.

Article VI, Section II of Florida's Constitution currently reads, "Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen 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."

John Loudon
John Loudon of Citizen Voters says the current Florida Constitution has a loophole that allows non residents to vote.

Amendment One would change the words "every citizen" to "only a citizen."

"Exactly, and that's how it should be," said registered voter Patrick Miller.

"You can move a comma and change an entire meaning, so, right now, the language 'every citizen' is an elector doesn't say that noncitizens are not, and that's the loophole. So, we have to say 'only a citizen' is an elector, and then we're protected," said John Loudon, the chairman of Citizen Voters.

Loudon, a West Palm Beach resident, is the political committee sponsor of Amendment One. His group got Amendment One on the ballot in Colorado and Alabama in 2018. It passed in North Dakota.

Marcia Herman, League of Women's Voters Speakers Bureau
Marcia Herman with the League of Women's Voters Speakers Bureau opposes the change to the Florida Constitution and doesn't support Amendment One.

The League of Women voters is against the change.

"We already have citizens who vote, so let's just leave it the way it is," said Marcia Herman, a member of the League of Women’s Voters Speakers Bureau.

WPTV political expert Brian Crowley also weighed-in on the debate.

"The Constitution already says that Florida citizens can vote. It doesn't say non-citizens. It doesn't say tourists. It doesn’t say somebody who is just dropping by the state," Crowley said.

Still, the committee worries about what they call legal voting rights for illegal residents.

"In 11 municipalities in Maryland, non-citizens, including illegal non-citizens and students here on foreign student visas, are legally able to vote in municipal elections or school board elections, and this is happening all across the country," Loudon said.

If passed, the change would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Click here for more information on Amendment One.

Click here to read the current Constitution in full.