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State Rep. Wants To Limit Legislature To Three Ballot Measures Per Election


A whopping 11 proposed constitutional amendments led to a 4-page-long ballot during this past election. But that might become a thing of the past if a state lawmaker gets his way.

Those 11 proposed changes to the state Constitution got a bad rap this past year because many of them tackled some divisive issues.

They also got a lot of blame for the long lines all over Florida during November’s presidential election. However, something else made those amendments unpopular: each and every one of them was put there by state lawmakers.

State Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Palm Beach, filed a bill that would limit the state Legislature to only three ballot measures in an election. Clemens says it’s a way of avoiding long lines in the next big election.

“The amount of amendments we placed on the ballot, the long language, and many of them, which were completely unnecessary, led to these long lines and led to people not being able to exercise their right to vote,” Clemens says.

He says lawmakers should take a lot of the blame for what happened last year.

“When you make a mistake, you got to own up to it, you got to apologize and you got to fix it,” Clemens says. “It’s up to us to make sure that this never happens again.”

Clemens’ bill would not limit the number of citizen-led amendments that get on the ballot. Though, it has gotten harder to for citizens to get constitutional amendments on a ballot.  That’s because in the past several years, the number of signatures citizens need for a ballot measure petition has gotten higher. In that same time, the shelf life of the signatures collected by citizens has been shortened by the state Legislature.

Collecting signatures all over the state is a costly and timely endeavor. In the past few years, few citizen-led petitions have made it on to a statewide ballot.

In 1998, a record number of 13 proposed amendments were on the ballot. This year was the second time 11 ballot measures went before voters.

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.