Florida Democratic, Republican parties both against Amendment 3 that would create open primaries

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Credit: WINK News.

Florida limits who can and can’t vote in primary elections. That left 3.8 million registered voters without a say in the August primary, but Amendment 3 could change that.

If Amendment 3 passes during the 2020 general election in Florida, candidates from the same party could run against each other in future general elections.

Amendment 3, as written, would apply only to the governor, cabinet and state legislature races. It would not apply to U.S Senate, U.S. House of Representatives or the president.

Terry Rizzo is Florida’s Democratic Party chair, and State Sen. Joe Grutors is his Republican counterpart. These two don’t agree on much, but this is an issue they see eye-to-eye on.

“Thank you, Chairman Rizzo, for joining me on this fight against this amendment,” Grutors said.

Both Rizzo and Grutors despise Amendment 3.

“We believe that Amendment 3 ballot initiative is bad for our democracy,” Rizzo said.

Florida’s Tiger Bay Club, a non-partisan political club, hosted a seminar to discuss Amendment 3.

Florida is one of nine states with a closed primary system. Registered Republicans can only vote for Republican candidates, and the same goes for registered Democrats. That leaves roughly 3.8 million voters with no party affiliation who don’t vote in Florida primaries. Amendment 3 would put all candidates on one ballot regardless of party.

What really has the parties fired up is that the top two vote-getters would advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation, potentially pitting same-party candidates against each other.

“It’s not about the parties. It’s about the people,” said Glenn Burgans Jr., who is in favor of Amendment 3. “It’s about giving a voice to 3.5 million people who are blocked out of the process from the election that they’re paying tax dollars for.”

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