The 2018 General Election ballot in Alachua County will feature 12 constitutional amendments along with two referendums for Alachua County and two for the city of Gainesville.
Thirteen constitutional amendments were proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission, the Florida Legislature and citizens’ initiatives. Seven of those 13 proposed amendments have been challenged, and the Florida Supreme Court struck Amendment 8 from the ballot in September.
The Florida League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit against Amendment 8 stating the ballot title and summary are misleading. The Florida Supreme Court upheld a ruling from Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper that stated the ballot summary does not make it clear that a “yes” vote would take away the power of local school boards to oversee charter schools.
Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled that Amendment 13, which seeks to ban dog racing in the state, is misleading and struck it from the ballot. The Florida Supreme Court reversed that decision and the amendment has been reinstated.
A case brought by former Justice Harry Lee Anstead challenges all of the bundled amendments (Amendments 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11). Anstead argued that forcing voters to take the good with the bad through the bundling of issues is a violation of their first amendment rights. The Florida Supreme Court accepted the case, but Lisa Hall, the president and CEO of Hall+Media Strategies, said it is not likely the court will make a decision before the election. She said if the court eventually rules in Anstead’s favor, the amendments that won approval at the polls will be thrown out and invalidated.
Ballot items need 60 percent of the vote in order to pass.
Below is a breakdown of all of the proposed constitutional amendments and local referendums.
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