Florida Democrats and Republicans are united in opposing a constitutional amendment proposal opening the state’s primary elections to all voters regardless of party. The Florida Supreme Court got an earful Tuesday as it weighs whether the amendment can go before voters.
All Voters Vote Incorporated says it wants all eligible Floridians to cast ballots in primary elections, something that currently isn’t done. Attorney Glenn Burhans say the current system blocks out independent and minor party affiliated voters from participating in primary elections.
"A primary system that disenfranchises nearly 3.7 million registered Florida voters merely because they haven’t joined a political party," explains Burhans.
For the most part, Florida’s primaries are closed, meaning only voters registered to the two major parties cast ballots in certain races. Democratic Party Attorney Rob McNeely says the ballot summary doesn’t fully inform voters of potential consequences of approval.
“They don’t say that the 9.7 million registered voters in Florida who have chosen a party affiliation would lose their ability by direct vote to choose their nominee," says McNeely.
He argues allowing others to participate in primaries dilutes the will of party affiliates. The measure has enough signatures to be placed on the ballot. To ensure its spot the group needs approval from the Supreme Court. Its job is to determine if the summary and title clearly represent what the amendment would do. The proposal comes as minor and no party affiliated voters make up the fastest-growing group of new registrants.
The open primary system is also referred to as jungle primary.