A conservative group is starting an effort to change Florida's constitution to underscore that "only a citizen" who is qualified and registered may vote.
The state's charter now says voting is the right of "every citizen" who's qualified and registered, so it's unclear if the altered wording would have any legal consequence. But putting the change on the 2020 statewide ballot would assure more prominence during the presidential campaign for the polarizing discussions about citizenship and immigration – potentially energizing the electorate to the benefit of Republicans.
"Efforts are underway across the country in liberal cities to allow non-citizens to legally vote. San Francisco, Chicago, several cities in Vermont and Maryland already allow non-citizens to legally vote in some or all local elections. Boston and New York City council leaders are pushing to allow non-citizen voting in their cities," John Loudon, chairman of the Florida Citizen Voters, told the web site FlaPol.
The group has already spent $263,000 on a service to gather petition signatures and reports another $828,00 in in-kind signature-gathering contributions.