With the Nov. 6 election fast approaching, Florida’s Supreme Court will decide whether to keep three Florida Constitutional amendments on the ballot that deal with oil drilling, vaping, death benefits and property rights.
A Tallahassee judge ruled last week the amendments should be thrown off the ballot because they “bundle” different topics together, which could confuse or mislead voters. Time is ticking because local supervisors of election are under pressure to print ballots soon – overseas ballots must be mailed out by Sept. 22.
The high court announced Wednesday that it had accepted the case and set out when the lawyers’ briefs are due. The court has not yet decided whether it will hear oral arguments.
The original case that went to Leon County Circuit Court challenged six Constitution Revision Commission amendments that were set for the November ballot. Last week, Tallahassee judge Karen Gievers ruled to strike Amendments 7, 9 and 11 (oil drilling, vaping, death benefits and property rights.)
Amendment challengers Robert Barnas and Harry Anstead (a former Florida Supreme Court justice) argue “bundling” multiple topics “bundled” does not allow a voter to directly choose which measure to support. Instead, the two argue, voters may have to vote “yes” on a topic they dislike to support a topic they do like, or vote “no” on a topic they support to block a topic they oppose.
After Gievers’s ruling, the state immediately appealed the case. The First District Court of Appeals waived it up to the state Supreme Court.