The Ballot Language Failed to Inform the Voters About Altering An Existing Florida Constitution Provision

In Armstrong v. Harris, 773 So. 2d 7, 11 (Fla. 2000) the court invalidated a constitutional amendment because the ballot language failed to inform the voters that the provision would alter an existing provision in the Florida Constitution. The court stated: In the present case, as explained above, the main effect of the amendment is simple, clear-cut, and beyond dispute: the amendment will nullify the Cruel or Unusual Punishment Clause. This effect far outstrips the stated purpose (i.e., to "preserve" the death penalty), for the amendment will nullify a longstanding constitutional provision that applies to all criminal punishments, not just the death penalty. Nowhere in the summary, however, is this effect mentioned--or even hinted at. The main effect of the amendment is not stated anywhere on the ballot. (The voter is not even told on the ballot that the word "or" in the Cruel or Unusual Punishment Clause will be changed to "and"--a significant change by itself.) Armstrong, 773 So. 2d at 18.