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Gainesville Voters Voice Opinion On Constitutional Amendments

Gainesville voters cast their votes today on 12 Constitutional amendments, the most since 1998, that included issues from restoring the voting rights of former felons to casino gambling authorization.

Some amendments were "bundled"— meaning proposals on different topics were written into one amendment. For example, Amendment 9 proposes the ban of both vaping indoors and offshore oil and gas drilling.

“There’s a lot of amendments with specific wording that is used to confuse, more specifically using a lot of wording that sounds like it’s going to be a good thing,” said Florida voter Meriza Cangia. “If you don’t do your research and understand what’s going on, you’re going to say yes to something that you normally would say no to.”

“As voters and involved citizens of Florida, I believe we must make it our civic duty to educate ourselves on important changes to the Florida constitution,” said second-time voter Stephanie Brodsky.

Amendment 3 would provide Florida voters the right to authorize casino gambling businesses within the state through ballot measures. A 'no' vote on Amendment 3 means the current legislature keeps the right to authorize casino gambling.

“Gambling brings with it some good and some bad, and I think each community has to decide what this means for them,” said Michael Joyner.

Amendment 4 would restore the right to vote to non-violent felons who have completed their full sentence including parole.

“I do believe in second chances, but they need to follow a process that allows them to become a citizen and earn their way back, earn their trust again,” said Thor Lassard, who voted at the Reitz Union on Tuesday.

The returns, the emotions: See Election Day photos from around Gainesville

Li Shen, who voted at precinct 42, said he doesn’t want people to be disenfranchised from something as important as voting because at the end of the day, they’re people too.

“I think those who have done their share of serving their sentences should be able to vote,” said Shen.

Florida voters had an opportunity to vote on these and ten other amendments today at their local precincts from 7 am to 7 pm. To pass, all constitutional amendments require 60 percent of the vote.