James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” and fourth U.S. president, believed our nation should function as a representative democracy. Unfortunately, our electoral system, the methods by which we choose our decision makers, is undermining our democracy’s ability to be representative. Our electoral system stifles competition, does not tolerate pluralism, and restricts access to the average person. This diminishes the quality of our democracy and our right to choose our decision makers.
We believe that Florida’s democracy is in crisis. The symptoms associated with Florida’s stagnant and non-competitive electoral system include the following: an incredibly safe investment environment for moneyed interests; the increasing costs of campaigns, with fundraising records broken every election cycle; and non-competitive elections where incumbents from the two entrenched parties dominate.
It is well past time for the average Floridian to gain some familiarity with the tricks of the electoral trade. The State of Florida is not only a particularly egregious example of a dilapidated electoral system, but our state has also been recently highlighted on the national stage by at least one severely dysfunctional presidential election. We've also seen various attempts to monopolize the ownership and operation of voting machines, and voter disenfranchisement has been exposed.
Florida’s electoral system not only directly determines the methods and process for state and local elections but also indirectly shapes our collective political and economic future. The cumulative impact of current electoral system failures results in the restriction of policy options and solutions that can ameliorate Florida’s economic, social, and political problems.