Amendment 3, also known as the “jungle primary” amendment, would change Florida’s primary elections for state legislators, the governor and lieutenant governor, and elected cabinet members (Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Chief Financial Officer) from a closed election to a top-two open primary.
All candidates for statewide offices and the Legislature, no matter their party, would challenge each other in one primary in August. Out of that one primary, the top two vote-getters (regardless of party) would face each other in the General Election.
For example, in this scenario, Andrew Gillum would have been excluded from the 2018 General Election ballot. The Gubernatorial race would have been between Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis, as they received more votes than any of the five “viable” Democratic challengers.
FCV OPPOSES Amendment Number 3
According to former state Rep. Sean Shaw – founder of People Over Profits – the amendment would weaken Black and Brown representation in the state. Shaw’s group argues that Black representation in the Florida Legislature is secured in Democratic primaries in which Black voters form a significantly greater proportion of the electorate than in the population at-large. The federal 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 2010 Fair Districts Amendment to Florida’s Constitution require that racial minorities elect candidates of their choice: jungle primaries would eliminate that choice. Number 3 would diminish Black voting power, especially when general elections challenge a Black candidate vs. a white candidate. Read more in People Over Profits’ report on Amendment No. 3.
Democrats and Republicans are both against Number 3. Both parties claim that Number 3 would benefit special interests and prevent parties” voters from nominating a candidate of their choice.
In states with jungle primary systems, like California, there have been instances where the ‘top two’ are members of the same political party. This scenario would generally give voters less choice in November, not more.
“No. 3 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” says Jonathan Webber, Deputy Director of Florida Conservation Voters. “While claiming to open up Florida’s closed primaries, this amendment would ensure that money wins elections, not people. Voters deserve a choice on Election Day.”