What the Midterms Mean For Us

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What the Midterms Mean For Us

On November 6th, U.S citizens had the opportunity to cast their ballots and be heard.

On November 6th, U.S citizens had the opportunity to cast their ballots and be heard.

Alexander Hernandez

On November 6th, U.S citizens had the opportunity to cast their ballots and be heard.

Alexander Hernandez

Alexander Hernandez

On November 6th, U.S citizens had the opportunity to cast their ballots and be heard.

Daniela Parra Del Riego, Staff Writer

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The low voter turnouts in previous years mixed with the recent political turbulence have finally culminated in what is considered one of the most important elections in recent history – months of campaigning and convincing voters are over. But now with the decisions made, what does that mean for us? More specifically, what do the new amendments in Florida mean for us? Eleven of the twelve proposed amendments passed with over 60% voter approval, which is the minimum required. Voters felt strongly enough to pass these amendments that deal with moral issues ranging from restoring felons’ voting rights to issues surrounding homeowners and casinos.

Doug MacGregor
Amid the midterm season madness, many Floridians do not understand the confusing official wording of the Amendments and must rely on others’ interpretations.

Out of the amendments, one of the more widely-publicized ones restores voting rights to felons that have served their time (with exception of violent cases such as rape or murder). This was identified as an issue after the inefficiency of the current law was noticed. As it stands, Florida requires felons to wait five years after being released to appear in front of a panel of “Florida cabinet-level officials that seldom meets, and the governor must personally approve their petition to have their rights restored.” This inefficient system often disproportionately affects Democratic and black voters” who are far more likely to have lost their right to vote because of a felony conviction than Republicans and whites.” This was a step in the right direction: if we want a true democracy, we must have as many eligible voters voting as possible from as many backgrounds as possible. If we limit a certain group of people, their voices will not be heard.

Criminal rights are also dealt with in amendment 11. A section of it deals with criminals and the statute that applies to their case changes. For example, if someone committed a crime and they were sentenced previously, but the amount of time they are required to complete or some other aspect of the statute changes, their sentence will be modified to fit the most recent version because of this new amendment. Some of the amendments were stacked to dissuade voters from going through with them, and 11 is one of them. It includes a repeal of a constitutional provision that prohibited high-speed ground transportation systems from being built. While these seem like minor things, these small adjustments will benefit Floridians by providing everyone with fair trials and fair transportation.

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I am glad that amendment 12 among the others were passed, because we need more transparency in the government, especially nowadays.”

— Sophomore Brayden Sanchez

Amendment nine was another stack bill, and it tackled the issue of offshore oil and gas drilling in state-owned waters and banned vaping indoors. With the bills stacked, voters who were concerned about health would support such a bill that protects our oceans and citizens. It is no secret that vaping is an worlwide issue, but this bill only focuses on using such products in shared spaces, which doesn’t affects users who respect said public spaces. Regarding the offshore drilling, Florida’s diverse ecosystem suffers because of the economic exploitation associated with drilling.

Even animals were affected by the amendments. Amendment 13 calls for the banning of all commercial greyhound racing by 2020. Animal lovers everywhere were thrilled when they found out that the cruel and inhumane culture of racing greyhounds purely for sports will now be banned. Florida is one of the few states that still allows this unethical “sport,” and traces of illegal drugs, including cocaine, have been found in 419 racing dogs. This is a step forward; racing is purely for entertainment and only benefits the economy because of the high taxes placed on gambling.

“As an animal lover, it pains me to see animals being used purely for human entertainment. Amendment thirteen was a step in the right direction to end animal cruelty,” sophomore Samantha Gazda said.

While many other amendments seemed trivial to some, it is important to note that they are intended to improve the lives of those affected by the new changes. These changes can only be made if people go out and cast their votes. Civic engagement daunts many, but is crucial to bring about positive change in our society. Positions were not the only important thing up for vote.

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