The Phoenix Flyer

With time running out for November election, Florida Supreme Court will decide fate of three amendments for the November ballot

By: - September 12, 2018 1:59 pm

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.

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CD Davidson-Hiers
CD Davidson-Hiers

CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.