What it means to vote in the general election

Erick Mendez

Staff Writer


People don’t vote. That thesis is surrounded by supporting statements. People can vote but they don’t regarding several reasons. One important concern is ignorance.

People are not taught about the names or the positions involved. They need to know that Gubernatorial candidates are people like Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis fighting for governorship in Florida. 

Tim Canova (a former Democrat now Independent) is running in Florida’s Congressional District-23, a second time against Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican Joe Kaufman. This November, it’s a three-way race that gives momentum to Canova’s chances. Areas of Davie, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Sunrise, Hollywood, Cooper City, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, and more allow voting for these specific candidates. 

Due to district map groupings or gerrymandering, a different roster of candidates may show up on your ballot. Living in one part of Fort Lauderdale by example may not guarantee similar candidates show up on another person’s ballot if that voter lives across the street.

Bill Nelson, Democratic Senator serving in the U.S. Senate and current Republican governor of Florida, Rick Scott are running for a Senate seat on Nov. 6.

Other than candidates across cities running for mayor, or city commissioner, Broward ballots mention Commissioner of Agriculture, Circuit Judges and County Court Judges. In addition, there are amendment proposals in the Florida State Constitution. Each detailed amendment asks for a “yes” or “no” vote. The best understanding is also the most condensed, so I’m going to shorten explanations.

Amendment 3 dives into casino gambling. Voting yes will later allow citizens the right to choose authorization or prohibition of Florida casinos.

Amendment 4 asks for the restoration of a felon’s right to vote (short of convicted rape or murder) upon sentence completion.

Amendment 5 would allow the Florida State Legislature (consisting of a Florida House and Senate) to authorize state taxes and fees using a 2/3’s supermajority vote of both chambers. Supermajority means an assigned majority such as 66 percent of the total votes of all chambers rather than basing a vote on a 51percent simple majority. To add a little bit of irony and meta, this revision to the state constitution requires 60 percent of our votes to pass.

Amendment 6 comes with three subject matters: raising a Florida judge’s retirement age from 70 to 75-years-old. Judges and hearing officers will have more autonomy to interpret statutes and rules regarding the rights of crime victims instead of relying on government agency guidelines. This concerns criminal and juvenile justice cases.

Amendment 7 would grant tuition-free public college to surviving relatives of deceased first responders’ and military members. 

Amendment 9 will prohibit off-shore oil/gas drilling in Florida territories. Amendment 9 also prohibits indoor vaping in enclosed indoor workspaces. This revision should be one for one issue instead of bundling the two as a singular vote, if you ask me. 

Amendment 10 addresses state and local government structure operations such as creating a state office of Counterterrorism and Domestic Security. Additionally, Florida counties would be prohibited from abolishing supervisor of elections, or sheriff’s offices. Instead, elections are to be mandated for these positions.

Amendment 12 offers a vague restriction on lobbying by public officials. This rule would prohibit those serving in office and their employees from using their positions to obtain what is categorically seen as a “personal benefit.”

Amendment 13 will end commercial dog racing by 2020.

This information can be found on a sample ballot at Broward County Supervisor of Election website at Browardsoe.org. Alternatively, Ballotpedia offers detailed explanations on Florida Amendments. For good measure, I’d like to make four recommendations. Share this article. Write down what these Amendments stand for. Study the content of the sample ballot, not the context. Vote for the issues that you personally understand rather than contemplate down-ballot voting. Now go out and vote.