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DeSantis anticipates voter pushback, claims two upcoming ballot initiatives are too extreme for Florida


Florida – The 2024 election in Florida is poised to be a battleground, especially with the inclusion of the abortion question on the ballot, which could significantly influence voter turnout, potentially swaying the results in Florida. The Florida Democratic Party remains hopeful that their strategic focus on key issues like abortion rights will resonate with Floridians and influence the electoral outcomes in their favor this November.

DeSantis anticipates voter pushback, claims two upcoming ballot initiatives are too extreme for Florida

DeSantis Voices Opposition

However, Governor Ron DeSantis has voiced strong opposition against two upcoming ballot initiatives regarding abortion rights and recreational marijuana, predicting that they will be rejected by voters due to their “radical” elements. These comments came after the state Supreme Court, with five justices appointed by DeSantis, allowed the proposed constitutional amendments to proceed, despite objections from Republican leaders including DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody.

DeSantis expressed his belief that the voters would recognize the extremity of these measures. “Once voters figure out how radical both of those are they’re going to fail,” he stated. “They are very, very extreme.” This marks his first public commentary on the initiatives since the court’s decision.

The Governor also noted a growing skepticism among voters regarding amendments, particularly those from outside groups, even though in the past, initiatives by such groups have seen success. For example, in the same election that Donald Trump won Florida, a supermajority of voters approved a significant increase in the state’s minimum wage, indicating that progressive measures can indeed find favor among the electorate.

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Voter Turnout

Abortion rights, in particular, have gained traction in various states, including traditionally conservative ones like Ohio, where access to abortion was recently cemented through a constitutional amendment. This trend suggests a potential misalignment between the governor’s predictions and the public’s voting behavior. Democrats, including President Joe Biden’s campaign, believe these issues will boost voter turnout in a state that has been trending towards Republican control.

Concerns Over Marijuana Legalization

DeSantis also criticized the marijuana legalization initiative, suggesting it would lead to an undesirable increase in dispensaries and could negatively impact communities by making the state “start to smell like marijuana.” He emphasized that this could diminish the quality of life in Florida’s cities and towns.

Contrarily, representatives from Smart & Safe Florida, the committee behind the marijuana initiative, have countered the governor’s assertions. Spokesperson Steve Vancore clarified that while public smoking concerns are valid, the proposed amendment would allow the Florida Legislature to regulate marijuana use, addressing issues of public consumption.

Contentious Abortion Debate

On the abortion front, DeSantis argued that the proposed measure would align Florida’s abortion laws with those of states like California by making the procedure available up to the point of fetal viability, about 24 weeks. He also claimed it would undermine state laws requiring parental consent, despite the amendment’s preservation of parental notification requirements.

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This argument comes as Florida is set to implement a stringent six-week abortion ban, following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a 15-week ban and overturn a longstanding ruling that protected abortion rights under the state’s privacy clause. This impending law, which activates automatically, will make it exceptionally difficult for many women to obtain abortions, as they may not realize they are pregnant within that brief period.

The debates surrounding these ballot initiatives highlight the deep divisions in Florida’s political landscape, as well as the potential impact of voter turnout in the upcoming elections. With the stakes high, both sides of the political spectrum are gearing up for a vigorous campaign season as they aim to sway the public on these critical issues.

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