Poll workers warn voters about lenghty November ballot

Published On: Aug 14 2012 04:41:27 PM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

If you went to vote Tuesday, you may have gotten a piece of advice before you left the polls. 

"Make sure you read over the ballot before coming to vote in November.  It's going to be about eight pages long," shouted a poll worker in front of the Elks Lodge on Primrose drive near downtown.

Florida voters will not only be deciding on the President, a Senator and members of Congress but also a bevy of proposed amendments ranging in topics from abortion to property tax exemptions.

The November ballot will contain 11 separate initiatives. It's   the most amendments voted on at once since 1998, where 13 appeared on the ballot.

In 2010, there were only six ammendments.

"It's going to be important for voters to be prepared before they get to the poles," said Chris Cate, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of State Division of Elections.

The division will be doing some voter information campaigns regarding the stacked ballot prior to the election to encourage people to take advantage of early and absentee voting as well as educating themselves about the initiatives.

Here is a very short summary of what will be on the ballot. Many of the items include additional components beyond what is described below.   To read the entire initiatives as they will appear on the ballot and the full text of the proposed amendments head to the Division of Elections website.

1. Health Care Services

Prohibits any law that forces any person or employer to purchase, obtain or otherwise provide health care coverage.

2. Veterans Disabled due to combat injury, Homestead Property Tax Exemption

Allows property discounts for disabled veterans who entered the military before they were Florida residents.

3. State Government Revenue Limitation

Changes limits on revenue using a formula based on inflation and population and distributes money to a budget stabilization fund.  Once that fund is maximized, money would be used for support and maintenance of public schools or returned to taxpayers.

4. Property tax limitation; Property tax decline; Reduction for Non-Homestead assessment increases; Delay of Scheduled repeal

Gives legislature ability to pass a law that will not allow the assessment of homestead and certain non-homesteaded property to increase if the just value of the property is less than the just value of the property the preceding year.

5.   State Courts

Would give legislature the ability to overturn a Supreme Court decision on a majority vote by each house rather than a 2/3 vote by each, as it stands now.

6. Prohibition on public funding of abortions, construction of abortion rights

Would block public funds from being used to pay for abortions except in  circumstances of rape, incest or if the woman is in danger of physical injury, illness or death unless an abortion is performed.

7. Religious Freedom

Deletes the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

8. Homestead Property Tax Exemption for surviving spouse of military, veteran or first responder

The amendment authorizes the Legislature to totally exempt or partially exempt such surviving spouse's homestead property from ad valorem taxation.

9. Tangible Personal Property Exemption

Provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes levied by counties, municipalities, school districts, and other local governments on tangible personal property if the assessed value of an owner's tangible personal property is greater than $25,000 but less than $50,000.

10. Additional Homestead Exemption; Low- Income seniors who maintain long-term residency on property; equal to assessed value

Allow counties and municipalities to grant an additional homestead tax exemption equal to the assessed value of homestead property if the property has a just value less than $250,000 to an owner who has maintained permanent residency on the property for not less than 25 years, who has attained age 65, and who has a low household income as defined by general law.

11. Appointment of Student Body President to Board Of Governors of the State University System

Replaces the president of the Florida Student Association with the chair of the council of state university student body presidents as the student member of the Board of Governors of the State University System

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