Debate surrounding Amendment 3 on Nov. ballot, open primary

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 18:08:05-04

Florida is one of 11 in the nation with a closed primary. Now there's a push to change that. It's Amendment 3 on the November ballot. And some argue it would serve the people of the state better.

Shawn Means, is one of the state’s 3.5 million No Party Affiliation (NPA) voters who say they aren’t fully represented in 2020.

”If I’m paying taxes I should be able to participate fully,” said Means. ”I don’t think that there should ever be a reason to be one or another. I think Independent is just what it says. I’m Independent. It would be more inclusive.”

He’s in favor of Amendment 3 which would allow all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. The two highest vote getters would then advance to the general election.

Florida’s GOP has been heavily opposed and vocal about the amendment, on their website the party says it will create “confusion and chaos and undo a system that has worked fairly for years, all in an effort to benefit consultants and special interests.” Some top Democrats have been vocal with similar statements and ads.

“What the parties fear is that the top two vote getters could both be Republicans or they could both be Democrats and that’s who goes to the general election. So one party could get totally eliminated in the primary system,” said Brian E. Crowley, political expert.

“Voters shouldn’t be compelled to associate with a party just to cast a meaningful ballot. The first amendment guarantees the right to associate. it also guarantees the right to not associate,” added Glenn Burhans, All Voters Vote chair.

All Voters Vote is a political committee sponsor of Amendment 3. The group has been pushing primary reform for almost six years.

“Go back to 1990 for example, NPA registrations were seven percent of all Florida voters. Today it’s 28 percent of all Florida voters. We’re moving toward nearly a third of all voters are shut out of the primary process. Clearly something has to change to make Florida government more responsive and respective of Florida’s diversity,” Burhans said.

If passed Amendment 3 wouldn’t go into effect until January 1, 2024.

To learn more about the push for Amendment 3, visit here: