Ballot amendment “bundling” confusing for Florida voters

Published: Updated:
FILE: 2018 Florida mail-in ballot.

You might bundle your home and auto insurance to save money, or maybe your cable and internet.

But there’s another type of bundling that some say is merely intended to confuse you.

If you are just reading the November ballot for the first time, the amendment list might make your head spin.

“Basically it says it prohibits drilling for exploration of oil and natural gas, that sounds pretty good,” Doug Malloy said. “But then in the same amendment it says use of vapor generating electronic devices to prohibit tobacco smoking.”

As if having 12 amendments on the ballot wasn’t confusing enough, voters will also have to deal with a trend called “bundling” which is essentially grouping two or more unrelated issues under one amendment.

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle says the feedback from the voters has been almost unanimously negative.

“We’ve been getting a lot of calls from voters complaining about why the Lee County elections supervisors would put these amendments on the ballot,” Doyle said. “I just want everybody to know it wasn’t us. This comes directly from the state.”

In this case the state is the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) which meets every 20 years.

To shorten the length of the ballot, they decided to group some of the proposed changes together.

Like a ban on offshore drilling with a ban on indoor vaping. Or a victims’ rights bill with a mandatory retirement age for judges.

“It’s difficult for the voter to make a reasonable assessment,” J’Ann Tharnstrom said.  “Because I don’t want this particular one, but I want these. It’s confusing. I’d rather it go away.”

The ballot is already printed so it is too late to change bundling this time around, but Doyle says that if you disagree with the trend, you should make your voice heard for future ballots.

“Voters need to exercise their right. Get a hold of their representatives and voice their concerns with them,” Doyle said.

You can read up on the amendments on this year’s ballot HERE. 

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