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Effort to change Florida’s primary system gets $2.25 million boost

The committee this year filed paperwork seeking to put two proposed constitutional amendments on the November 2020 ballot.
SCOTT KEELER | Times Mail ballots sit on pallets waiting to be trucked to the US Postal Service and mailed to voters, Tuesday, 10/2/18 at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center, Largo.
Published Jun. 11

Moving quickly to collect petition signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment about changing Florida’s primary-election system, a political committee last month raised — and spent — more than $2 million, according to a new finance report.

The committee All Voters Vote Inc., which has been funded by prominent Miami health-care executive Mike Fernandez, received $2,250,606 in May and spent $2,823,296. Almost all of the money came from a Fernandez-linked firm, MBF Family Investments, while almost all of the spending went to the petition process.

Related: Ron DeSantis signs crackdown on constitutional amendments, solidifying Republican control in Florida

The committee this year filed paperwork seeking to put two proposed constitutional amendments on the November 2020 ballot, one dealing with U.S. Senate and U.S. House elections and the other dealing with state elections. But as of Monday, it had only submitted petition signatures for the proposal dealing with state elections.

Under the proposal, all registered voters would be able to cast ballots in primaries, regardless of political affiliation. The two candidates getting the most votes in each primary would advance to the general election.

To get the proposal on the ballot, the committee would need to submit 766,200 valid petition signatures. As of Monday, it had submitted 42,017, according to the state Division of Elections website.

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