The deadline for voter registration in Florida ended yesterday, and now that absentee and vote by mail ballots are already arriving, it's a good time to remind ourselves how important our votes in this election are. Not just in the Presidential election, but locally as well.
In Florida, there are 11 Constitutional Amendments placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature this election. (A 12th amendment was removed.)
It isn't just the amendments that are of importance to Floridians either. Several Florida Supreme Court Justices have come under attack from Republicans and outside special interests, like the Koch brothers political action committee, Americans For Prosperity. Their targets? Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince, who struck down a 2010 amendment written to nullify the Affordable Care Act. If they're successful, Florida Governor Rick Scott will be free to hand pick new judges as their replacements.
Let that sink in for a moment, Florida:
Rick Scott would hand pick the judges that will make his ideological decisions, for you, for years to come.
These judges are up for merit retention votes on the ballot as well.
The League of Women Voters of Florida is urging voters to say "no" to all 11, along with Progress Florida and many other groups, as are most Florida newspapers, and for good reason. The Amendments were written deceptively in the hopes that voters would perhaps skip reading all the details, or have the time to do their own research.
Don't be fooled. Be informed.
A few points on some of those amendments from Progress Florida, for example:
Amendment 3 makes an unfair tax system even more unfair for families and small businesses. Everyone wants their tax dollars used effectively and to cut wasteful spending, but Amendment 3 is a wolf in sheep's clothing that allows Tallahassee politicians to protect an unfair system that beneﬁts large corporations at the expense of public schools, small businesses and working families.
Amendment 5 is a power grab by Tallahassee politicians and lobbyists to take over our courts. Amendment 5 gives politicians more power over our courts and is opposed by the people who know what works and doesn’t in our justice system – judges and the people that work in our courthouses all across Florida.
Amendment 6 lets politicians interfere in women’s personal medical decisions. Every woman deserves to make her own personal health care decisions based on her values and her doctor’s advice – without politicians interfering.
Amendment 8 isn't really about “religious freedom” at all. Amendment 8 actually allows any religious group or sect to use our tax dollars to fund their own religious schools. Worse, it includes no oversight to safeguard the tax dollars our government will be “giving away,” leaving the door open to massive fraud and abuse.
Again, don't be fooled, be informed.
That advice may be more important this election than ever before.