The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) on Monday moved forward on two public proposals to amend the state’s governing document: One to close the “write-in loophole,” and another to repeal a provision on high speed rail.
The next chance for commissioners to directly sponsor public proposals will be on Oct. 17, during another meeting of the full Commission. Commissioners also adopted a recommendation from their Rules Committee to extend the public filing deadline to this Friday because of Hurricane Irma.
“We are very grateful to the thousands of Floridians who have participated in the process either by attending our public hearings or submitting their own proposed changes to the Florida Constitution,” CRC Chairman Carlos Beruff said in a statement.
“As we review the more than 1,400 public proposals and thousands of comments and emails we have received, it is apparent that Floridians share many similar interests and ideas,” he added.
“In addition to directly sponsoring public proposals, many Commissioners are creating their own proposals inspired by public input and combine similar ideas into one proposal to ensure Floridians’ voices are heard.”
For instance, Commissioners Chris Smith and Arthenia Joyner, both former Senate Democratic Leaders, have filed a proposal to restore non-violent felons’ voting rights that’s based on several public proposals already turned in.
“We encourage all interested Floridians who have not yet submitted their proposed changes to the Florida Constitution to send them in by the Oct. 6 deadline,” Beruff said.
At Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Sherry Plymale sponsored a public proposal turned in by former lawmaker and now Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg. It would open primary elections to all voters in which a major-party candidate has only write-in opposition.
Division of Elections officials have ruled if a write-in candidate qualifies for the general election, that turns what would have been an open primary into a closed primary, meaning only voters registered to a party can vote.
Candidates and parties, though they don’t admit it, have been known to recruit political novices to run as write-ins to close a primary, which usually benefits an incumbent.
The commission is formed every 20 years to review and suggest changes to the state’s governing document. Any amendments it places directly on the 2018 statewide ballot still must be OK’d by 60 percent of voters to be added to the constitution.