Florida Campaign Finance Requirement Repeal, Amendment 1 (2010)

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Florida Campaign Finance Requirement Repeal, Amendment 1 appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was defeated.

The proposal called for a repeal of the public financing of statewide candidates who agree to spending limits.[1][2]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

This measure required a minimum of 60% approval. Although the chart below appears to show the measure was approved, it failed to collect the minimum number of approval votes and thus was defeated Defeatedd.

Amendment 1 (Campaign Finance)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 2,587,543 52.49%
No2,342,13747.51%

Official results via Florida Division of Elections

Text of measure

According to the Florida Department of Elections, the summary of the measure read as follows:[3]

Proposing the repeal of the provision in the State Constitution that requires public financing of campaigns of candidates for elective statewide office who agree to campaign spending limits. [4]

Constitutional changes

The measure would have repealed Article 6 Section 7 of the Florida Constitution.[5] The section read as follows:

Campaign Spending Limits and Funding of Campaigns for Elective State-Wide Office

It is the policy of this state to provide for state-wide elections in which all qualified candidates may compete effectively. A method of public financing for campaigns for state-wide office shall be established by law. Spending limits shall be established for such campaigns for candidates who use public funds in their campaigns. The legislature shall provide funding for this provision. General law implementing this paragraph shall be at least as protective of effective competition by a candidate who uses public funds as the general law in effect on January 1, 1998.

Support

Amendment 1 supporters argued that the funds for public campaign funding could have been put to better use and could have helped with the state's needs. Additionally, supporters argued that the funding system served as a welfare system for candidates.[6] Rep. Alan Hays, a sponsor of the proposed measure, argued that campaign finance laws had not been effective in limiting spending in elections, a major goal of the laws he said. "The desired attempt has not been accomplished. This program does not limit political campaign spending. Just look at the last few campaign cycles. With such a lack of results, this is an idea whose time has passed," he said[7]

Opposition

Opponents argued that getting rid of the existing system could have given wealthier candidates the upper hand in elections. For example, some opponents said that public financing helped give challengers a chance to compete when elections became an "arms race for money." Others also argued that public financing helped hold officials accountable and created more transparency.[6]

According to reports, opponents of the proposed measure included the League of Women Voters, the NAACP and Common Cause. They argued that public financing allowed for potential candidates to run for office who would otherwise have been precluded. Some argued that instead of eliminating the system, amendments could be made to fix the existing loopholes to create a well running system.[7]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Florida ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Northwest Daily News supported Amendment 1. "The public financing requirement was a bad idea all along. The Daily News recommends a yes vote to repeal it...The public money spent on individual races may not sound like much, but cumulatively it’s quite a bit...That’s the practical problem with public campaign financing. There’s a moral problem as well. Florida taxpayers are free to support the political candidates of their choice by donating money, volunteering to canvass neighborhoods and so on. They should not be required to support, with their taxes, the campaigns of candidates they don’t like or know nothing about," said the editorial board.[8]
  • The Gainesville Sun supported Amendment 1. The editorial board wrote, "State Constitutional Amendment 1, on the Nov. 2 ballot, will repeal public campaign financing. We recommend voters do just that and end this expensive, failed experiment."[9]
  • The (Panama City) News Herald said, "According to the Collins Center on Public Policy in Tallahassee, Florida since 1994 has spent more than $27 million of public money on campaigns for governor and other statewide offices. That’s money that could have been better spent than on politics. We have a fundamental philosophical argument against public financing of campaigns: Taxpayers should not be forced to financially support candidates not of their choosing."[10]
  • The Naples Daily News said, "Campaign donations are a form of free speech. Bring on the donors — and let public records show voters who they are and how much they give. Also, let voters know which candidates are willing to accept gifts from which donors."[11]
  • The Florida Times-Union said, "This amendment wouldn’t require lawmakers to cut off public financing. It would merely allow the Legislature to stop giving money to politicians any time it determines the state has more pressing needs. What’s wrong with that?"[12]
  • Creative Loafing's Irreverent View said, "Amendment 1 relates to repeal of public financing of political campaigns. Irreverent View recommends a “Yes” vote on Amendment 1. Do you really want your tax money going to political candidates running for office?"[13]

Opposition

  • The St. Petersburg Times was opposed to Amendment 1. In an editorial, the board said, "Until there is clarity from the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no reason for Florida to take campaign financing out of its Constitution. The campaign finance system is broken, but this is not the way to fix it. The Times recommends a "no vote on Amendment 1."[14]
  • The Palm Beach Post was opposed to Amendment 1. In an editorial, the board said, "The public put public financing into the Florida Constitution in 1998 to keep political power from being sold to whoever has the deepest pockets. For the same reason, the public on Nov. 2 should keep public financing in the Constitution by voting NO on Amendment 1."[15]
  • The Bradenton Herald opposed the proposed measure. The editorial board said, "We recommend a no vote on Amendment 1. Higher courts should decide the fate of this significant campaign finance reform."[16]
  • The Pensacola News Journal was opposed to Amendment 1. In an editorial, the board said, "With the growing flood of special interest campaign cash, it might be quixotic to hold out hope for candidates who will take public money in return for agreeing to limit their campaign spending. We can always hope."[17]
  • Florida Today was opposed to the proposed question. The editorial board said, "Vote “no” on Amendment 1, keeping it on the books and demanding lawmakers roll back the spending limits and enact bolder campaign finance reforms to keep elections open and transparent."[18]
  • The Orlando Sentinel was opposed. "We like the idea of leveling the playing field to help candidates who aren't as beholden to big money. We recommend a NO vote on Amendment 1, which would keep public campaign financing in the constitution," said the editorial board.[19]
  • The South Florida Sun-Sentinel said, "Public campaign finance may turn out to be a waste of taxpayer money. Or, it may prove to be the one thing that offers a fair chance at a run for office to good candidates who otherwise would have no chance because they do not have huge personal fortunes. If need be, this issue can easily be returned to the ballot, perhaps in two years. For now, let's give it more time."[20]
  • The Ledger said, "Public campaign funding is a system that should be reformed, not repealed. The Ledger recommends a No vote on Amendment 1."[21]

Path to the ballot

See also: Florida law for legislatively-referred constitutional amendments

In order to qualify for the November 2010 ballot, the proposed amendment required the approval of a minimum of 60% in both the House and the Senate.

See also

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Articles

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Associated Press,"6 amendments will be on Florida's 2010 ballot," January 22, 2010
  2. St. Petersburg Times,"A look at the nine amendments on Florida's ballot," May 30, 2010
  3. Florida Division of Elections,"Repeal of Public Campaign Financing Requirement: Summary," accessed January 5, 2010
  4. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. Florida State Department of Elections,"Amendment 1 (HJR81) full text," accessed August 18, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Associated Press,"Fla. amendment would repeal public campaign funds," October 4, 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Daily Record,'Amendment 1: To finance or not to finance," October 15, 2010
  8. The Daily News,"EDITORIAL: Amendment review: Yes on No. 1," October 7, 2010
  9. The Gainesville Sun,"Editorial: Amendment 1: Yes," October 9, 2010
  10. News Herald,"EDITORIAL: Assessing amendments," October 24, 2010
  11. Naples Daily News,"Editorial: Election 2010 | Florida Ballot Amendments 1, 2 & 4," October 13, 2010
  12. The Florida Times-Union,"Amendment One: Yes for repeal," October 18, 2010
  13. Creative Loafing,"Irreverent View’s ballot recommendations," October 1, 2010
  14. St. Petersburg Times,"Three ballot measures deserve a 'no' vote," September 28, 2010
  15. The Palm Beach Post,"Endorsement: Amendment 1: Keep public in campaigns," September 30, 2010
  16. Bradenton Herald,"We recommend on Amendment 1, no; No. 2, yes BRADENTON HERALD EDITORIAL | Campaign financing law should not be repealed," September 28, 2010
  17. Pensacola News Journal,"Editorial Board recommendations: The Amendments," October 9, 2010
  18. FloridaToday.com,"Our views: Vote 'no' on Amendment 1, 'yes' on 2, 8 (Oct. 5)," October 5, 2010
  19. Orlando Sentinel,"Our Endorsements: Amendments made simple," October 23, 2010
  20. Sun Sentinel,"Vote no on Amendment 1," October 14, 2010
  21. The Ledger,"The Ledger Recommends - Constitutional Amendments: Campaigns, Tax Credit, Land Use," October 28, 2010