Proposal would allow Florida voters to cast primary ballots without party affiliation

A proposal to change Florida's primary voting regulations could offer voters more freedom, but would also turn the process on its head.

A proposed constitutional amendment that would revamp Florida’s primary-elections process has been formally sent to the state Supreme Court for review of the ballot wording.

Attorney General Ashley Moody says she looked at the proposal's language to make sure it didn’t seem misleading.

"That particular amendment, I found was clear and passed it along to the Supreme Court, and now they will have to take that review and make that determination that it complies with the statute,” Moody said.

The proposal, which supporters hope to place on the November 2020 ballot, would allow all registered voters 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.

Florida currently has a “closed” primary system, which limits primaries to voters registered with parties.

What's being proposed isn't exactly an open primary. Most politicos refer to the proposed changes as a "top two" or "jungle" primary.

In this case, two candidates getting the most votes in each primary would advance to the general election. They can be from any party; it doesn't have to be Republican or Democrat.

Political analyst Jim Davis the proposed system is the same as California's.

"You could have two republicans facing off each other; you could have an independent, Democrat or independent democrats,” Davis said. “This gives freedom to the voters, so regardless of your party affiliation, you'll get a chance to vote."

Along with needing Supreme Court approval of the ballot wording, backers of proposed constitutional amendments need to submit at least 766,200 valid petition signatures. As of Monday evening, 395,924 valid signatures had been sent to the state for the primary-elections proposal.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.