Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
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League of Women Voters: Voters frustrated by amendments
Posted Oct 25, 2012 by William March
Updated Oct 25, 2012 at 04:52 PM
The League of Women Voters says it has received more than 1,000 phone calls from voters frustrated and seeking help with the numerous, lengthy, complex constitutional amendments listed on the Florida ballot.
In a news release, League Executive Director Jessica Lowe-Minor said some calls from voters are taking more than an hour to help them understand the amendments.
“Many callers start by apologizing, saying it must be their fault, they must be stupid, because they don’t understand the language or true intent of the amendments. We assure them, ‘It’s not your fault; these really are exceptionally difficult to understand and unravel.’”
The League said the amendments have “misleading names and lengthy summaries, including the 600-plus word summary of Amendment 4, taking up nearly a full column.
It said the the amendments, all generated by the state Legislature, make it the longest ballot in Florida’s history.
“Our callers’ problems can be traced directly to the Legislature. Because of a law they passed in 2011, legislators don’t have to follow the same rules as citizens’ initiatives, which require judicial review, accurate titles and clear, 75-word summaries,” said League President Deirdre Macnab.
The League, which doesn’t take positions on candidates but does take positions on ballot issues, has recommended voters say “no” to all 11 amendments for various reasons. Macnab added a fourth: “If you don’t understand the amendments, don’t skip them. Reject them. Send a message to legislators by defeating their incomprehensible, misnamed, intentionally confusing proposals.”
She said voters should be sure to get to the end of the ballot, because important local charter and tax initiatives follow the amendments.