Miami-Dade residents: get your customized sample ballot here
Below is how I will vote. Feel free to comment below. I live in Precinct 804 of Miami-Dade County, Florida. I am an independent/No Party Affiliation (NPA). Your ballot will be different based on your precinct. I’m an artist, not a writer. Therefore, below are quotes and links that have informed my decisions. Feel free to comment.
United States Senator for Florida
Bill Nelson 11
Scott (Governor Scott, currently running for US Senate) has argued that the saltwater red tides are a natural occurrence, which is true but somewhat beside the point, because pollution makes them much worse. He has tried to blame the freshwater blue-green algae on Nelson and Congress, for complicated reasons involving a leaky dike around Lake Okeechobee in the middle of the state. But water quality is a state responsibility, and while Scott has made occasional eco-friendly moves during his eight years in office, he has consistently weakened regulation and enforcement of the nutrients that fuel algae blooms. And even though warmer water can supercharge those blooms, as well as hurricanes like Michael that can spread those blooms, Scott has not pushed policies designed to prevent climate change. State employees in his administration were even reportedly cautioned not to say those two words.
Representative in Congress District 27
Donna Shalala 21
Defend and improve the Affordable Care Act. Florida’s 27th District has the highest number of people enrolled in the ACA marketplace in the entire country. Taking that coverage away would do irreparable damage to the health of our community. Create a “Medicare Option for All” by enhancing Medicare to better cover routine dental and vision, and long-term care, and make it available to anyone regardless of income, immigration status, or age. At the same time, preserve employer coverage as an option for those Americans satisfied with their current coverage.
Governor and Lieutenant Governor
Andrew Gillum 24
What have you accomplished in Tallahassee that you’d like to make happen for the rest of the state?
For starters, our crime rate is at a 10-year low. We leaned in on restorative justice. I banned the box [which job applicants had to check if they’d been convicted of any crimes]; we measure you on your merit in Tallahassee. The week that President Trump was pulling out of the Paris climate accord, I broke ground on a 120-acre solar farm in my community. We’re out there talking about what we’ve done, not just what I believe. That’s important. It’s not just theoretical.
Gillum interview in Rolling Stone
Sean Shaw 31
State Rep. Sean Shaw, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, vows to aggressively take on fraud in Florida, as well as policies of the Republican-led Legislature and even President Donald Trump, if elected to the Cabinet position. Former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, the Republican candidate, wants to build on the work of her friend, the term-limited Bondi, which means expanding the state’s battle against the opioid epidemic and continuing a fight against the federal Affordable Care Act.
Chief Financial Officer
Jeremy Ring 34
About an hour before the workday ended for most state employees, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis left the state Capitol in a government-owned Chevy Tahoe, drove to a political consultant’s business and promptly caused a car crash. In most Florida agencies — including Patronis’ own — a state worker’s personal use of a state-owned vehicle is generally prohibited. But Patronis’ office said the CFO was allowed personal use of the vehicle because he reimbursed the state for it. However, Patronis only cut a single $4,015.62 reimbursement check on the exact day that POLITICO made a general inquiry of his agency for its vehicle-reimbursement policy. And that was seven months after Patronis wrecked the car.
Marc Caputo, POLITICO
Commissioner of Agriculture
Nicole “Nikki” Fried 36
I believe in science. I believe that sea-level rise caused by climate change is already hurting Florida. Pulling out the Paris Climate Agreement was the wrong decision not only for our nation, but for our planet. As your next Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, my administration will work to ensure that our state makes responsible choices to combat the effects of climate change and sea-level rise. In the short-term, this means working with local governments to implement preparedness and resiliency measures. In the long-term, it means taking steps to reduce our state’s carbon footprint. I will also lean on the legislature to ban off-shore drilling and fracking.
State Senator, District 40
Annette Taddeo 41
Senator Taddeo has never—and will never—stop fighting for a quality public education system that puts students first. Her entire career, she has been a passionate advocate for ending high-stakes standardized testing and stopping the flow of money from our public schools to for-profit corporations. It is unconscionable to be discussing arming teachers when they earn $10,000 below the national average, and she will always vote against legislation that deprives Miami-Dade students of the funding and support that they deserve.
State Representative, District 115
Jeffrey Solomon 57
Miami-Dade’s economy is at risk due to the lack of reliable mass transit. I have a proven track record as a strong advocate of expanding transit service in Miami-Dade. I understand the need for affordable and reliable transit options and will fight to expand service into our southern and western communities.
Justice of the Supreme Court
When the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled in 2011 that a child can have two legally recognized mothers, Lawson disagreed. The high profile case involved a custody battle between a lesbian couple who conceived a child when one woman provided a fertilized egg to the other, who carried the baby and gave birth. The couple’s relationship later deteriorated, and the birth mother left the country with the child and denied her ex-partner a relationship with the child. Lawson argued in his dissent that only the birth mother was entitled to custody and that the court shouldn’t recognize the other woman’s parental rights “unless we are also willing to invalidate laws prohibiting same-sex marriage, bigamy, polygamy or adult incestuous relationships on the same basis.” He also earned plaudits from conservatives for a 2015 opinion that upheld a temporary injunction barring Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando from performing abortions at a Kissimmee clinic.
District Court of Appeal
Ivan F. Fernandez
Norma Shepard Lindsey
Robert Joshua Luck
Circuit Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit Group 14
Renee Gordon 79
I have represented more than two thousand (2,000) juvenile respondents in proceedings where the State Attorney announced an intent to transfer the matter to the adult criminal court.
FLORIDA AMENDMENTS. These require 60% to pass
Constitutional Amendment Article VII, Section 6 Article XII, Section 37
Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect January 1, 2019.
Constitutional Amendment Article XII, Section 27
Limitations on Property Tax Assessments
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified nonhomestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.
“Three South Florida property appraisers have written an op-ed in Sunday’s opinion page supporting the amendment. They say: ‘A Yes vote will avert a sudden and largely unexpected tax crisis for more than 530,000 residential and business property owners in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.’ They are in the financial trenches; we’ll follow their advice — voters should, too.”
Constitutional Amendment Article X, Section 29
Voter Control of Gambling in Florida
This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.
The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling operations that have not been approved by voters through a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens’ initiative petition process.
Constitutional Amendment Article VI, Section 4
Voting Restoration Amendment
This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convictedofmurderorsexualoffenses,who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.
The precise effect of this amendment on state and local government costs cannot be determined, but the operation of current voter registration laws, combined with an increased number of felons registering to vote, will produce higher overall costs relative to the processes in place today. The impact, if any, on state and local government revenues cannot be determined. The fiscal impact of any future legislation that implements a different process cannot be reasonably determined.
On Nov. 6, Floridians will have a chance to approve the single largest expansion of the franchise since women’s suffrage: a constitutional amendment that will restore voting rights to 1.5 million rehabilitated felons. The proposal, Amendment 4, would repeal a Jim Crow relic in the Florida Constitution that strips civil rights from formerly incarcerated citizens, permanently transforming the state’s electorate.
Mark Joseph Stern, Slate
Constitutional Amendment Article VII, Section 19
Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees
Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.
Constitutional Revision Article I, Section 16
Article V, Sections 8 and 21 Article XII, New Section
Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
Creates Constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.
Constitutional Revision Article IX, Sections 7 and 8 Article X, New Section
First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure.
Constitutional Revision Article II, Section 7 Article X, Section 20
Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Adds use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.
Constitutional Revision Article III, Section 3
Article IV, Sections 4 and 11 Article VIII, Sections 1 and 6
State and Local Government Structure and Operation
Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even-numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement.
Constitutional Revision Article I, Section 2
Article X, Sections 9 and 19
Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute.
Another proposal, Amendment 11, would repeal a constitutional provision that bars the Legislature from applying criminal justice reforms retroactively. Thanks to this archaic rule, thousands of Floridians are languishing in prison under mandatory minimum sentences that have since been dramatically reduced. Yet Amendment 11 has proved substantially more controversial than Amendment 4, drawing opposition from liberals who worry it will be exploited by gun rights advocates. This rift on the left creates a very real risk that a vital reform will be stymied by inflated fears of the National Rifle Association.
Mark Joseph Stern, Slate
Constitutional Revision Article II, Section 8 Article V, Section 13 Article XII, New Section
Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.
Constitutional Revision Article X, New Section Article XII, New Section
Ends Dog Racing
Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.
County Referendum 1
Charter Amendment Relating to Nonpartisan Election of Clerk of the Circuit Court
Shall the Charter be amended to require that the election of Clerk of the Circuit Court be conducted on a nonpartisan basis and that no ballot shall show the party designation of any candidate for Clerk of the Circuit Court?
County Referendum 2
Charter Amendment Relating to County Appointed Officials and Employees Running for Certain Elective Office
The Charter currently requires that County appointed officials or employees qualifying to run for federal, state or municipal elective office take a leave of absence and, if elected, immediately forfeit their County position. Shall the Charter be amended to limit this restriction to only apply to County officials and employees who qualify as a candidate for certain County elected offices?
County Referendum 3
Charter Amendment Relating to Review of Initiatory Petitions for Legal Sufficiency
Shall the Charter be amended to require that the Board of County Commissioners shall determine the legal sufficiency of an initiatory petition at the next Board meeting after the Clerk of Courts approves the petition form rather than after the required signatures have been gathered?
County Referendum 4
Charter Amendment Regarding Elections for County Commissioners and Mayor
Shall the Charter be amended to provide that when a candidate for County Commission or Mayor withdraws, becomes disqualified, or becomes deceased prior to an election no votes cast for such candidate shall be counted and that when a candidate for County Commission or Mayor is unopposed in an election after the close of qualification such candidate shall be deemed elected to office?
County Referendum 5
Charter Amendment Prohibiting Certain Payments Circulators of Initiatory Petitions
Shall the Charter be amended to prohibit any person circulating an initiatory petition from paying or offering to pay any individual or organization, or receive payment or agree to receive payment, on a basis related to the number of signatures obtained for circulating the petition and invalidate any petitions collected in violation of this prohibition?
School Board Referendum
Referendum to Approve Ad Valorem Levy for Teachers, Instructional Personnel, School Safety and Security
Shall the School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida, levy 0.75 mills of ad valorem taxes for operational funds (1) to improve compensation for high quality teachers and instructional personnel, and (2) to increase school safety and security personnel, with oversight by a Citizen Advisory Committee, beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2023?