Carroll urges voters to say ‘No’ to all 13 Constitutional amendments

By Lauren Willins
Posted 10/31/18

FLEMING ISLAND – Multiple former Florida elected officials are telling people to vote ‘no’ on all of the state’s 13 proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot.

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Carroll urges voters to say ‘No’ to all 13 Constitutional amendments

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Multiple former Florida elected officials are telling people to vote ‘no’ on all of the state’s 13 proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Save My Constitution is an organization made up of former state and federal lawmakers, as well as two former lieutenant governors. Labeling the ballot measures as “confusing” and “misleading,” the group proposes that the public votes against them.

Former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll disagrees with the way the amendments were conceived.

“I don’t like bundling in general,” said Carroll, who still maintains a home and presence on Fleming Island. “Any subject matter in the amendment has to be connected to the bill title and these amendments are not.”

Organizer Jake Capistran believes the amendments are too long.

“It’s absurd that there are [13] amendments on one ballot,” Capistran said. “It’s 20 pages. That’s what voter disenfranchisement is.”

Capistran is a field organizer for NextGen, a nonprofit organization that teaches voters about candidates who support environmental policies.

According to an August 2018 Orlando Sentinel article, former Florida House member Jim Kallinger said the group is looking at all the issues.

“We’re saying vote ‘no’ on everything because we feel they were conceived in a deceptive way,” Kallinger was quoted as saying. “We’re going to address the process.”

Capistran believes that the amendments were made purposefully confusing.

“The writing on the amendments is super confusing,” Capistran said. “It’s meant to confuse students. They’ll vote yes on things they don’t understand.”

Save My Constitution was formed largely to oppose the process that places members on the Constitution Revision Commission.

Every 20 years, the governor and legislative leaders appoint members to the commission. The 37-member commission can put amendments on the ballot. Save My Constitution leaders believe that the process allows “lobbyists” and “political insiders” on the commission.

Carroll believes that the ballot measures circumvent the legislative process.

“The Constitution Revision Commission is not supposed to be revising the constitution,” Carroll said. “It is an unelected body with no oversight and with special interests.”

“Our duty is to show the public that the Constitution Revision Commission’s duty is to make proposals and make outdated language streamlined, not completely rewriting the constitution itself,” Carroll said.

According to a Florida Politics article, former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp believes the CRC has unmeasured power.

“We understand the game of politics, and the influence of special interest groups,” Kottkamp is quoted as saying.

The CRC is “an unelected body that frankly doesn’t represent anybody and is not accountable to anybody,” according to Kottkamp.

The group believes that bundling different objectives into amendments is a serious issue, as the amendments will entice voters to vote for controversial issues.

CRC member Brecht Heuchan opposes Save My Constitution’s concerns.

In the same Florida Politics article, Heuchan said, “grouping some ideas together keeps the ballot from becoming too lengthy to complete. If all of the CRC proposals were left as single amendments, there would be 25 questions on the ballot instead of 13.”

Capistran thinks that more could have been done.

“[There’s] way too many of them,” Capistran said. “They could have broken it up.”

“It’s way too long.”

The CRC also believes that bundling makes it easier for voters to understand the amendments.

Carroll disagrees.

“A single subject allows voters to go over the information in-depth,” Carroll said. “It doesn’t make it easier for voters, it makes it easier for special interests.”

“It is a disservice to voters,” Carroll said.

Carroll thinks that Save My Constitution’s members have a duty to the people that elected them.

“We took an oath that we would defend the Constitution. It is near and dear to our duty and obligation,” Carroll said.

“We may not be here, but we have to do something to protect our children and grandchildren.”

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