When it comes to politics, it is far from rare for technicalities to get in the way of good changes. Few people read proposed bills and amendments in their full capacity; many of the few who do are confused by the political jargon and confusing statements. The result is that a high percentage of the public is either misinformed, uneducated or absolutely perplexed.
The case was no different on Nov. 6 as millions of voters made their way to the polling booths. Florida voters were presented with eleven pieces of legislation to vote on, including amendment 12, which would have made a college student representative the student member of the Board of Governors of the State University System. Additionally, the amendment would have required the Board of Governors to organize a council of state university student body presidents. Those who do not care about student issues would have barely noticed a difference in government and those who do care would have reaped the positive benefits. It would have brought public university student needs closer to the government and given students, who are the ones affected by government decisions regarding education, a voice.
Yet, this amendment failed to receive 60 percent of the vote, the required percentage by the Florida constitution for an amendment to pass, and therefore failed. The impact it would have had can hardly be classified as harmful to 60 percent of Floridians; so, why did it fail?
Simply put, people did not care or know enough. This seemingly harmless amendment was exactly that: harmless. However, many of the voters who voted “no” for amendment twelve did not do their research. Multiple newspapers and commentators, including the Tampa Bay Times, encouraged voters to vote “no” on all of the amendments in order to send a message to Florida legislators. Rejecting amendment 12 probably meant very little to Florida legislators, though. By encouraging readers and listeners to just vote “no”, undecided voters may have not felt the need to look deeper into the proposed changes.
Some deemed amendment 12 irrelevant because it would not have affected their lives and would only waste money. What ever happened to the greater good, though? It may not affect you, but it will affect your children and the future generation. Others believed that amendment 12 was an unnecessary change, but students at public universities, struggling against rising education costs and decreasing university funds, lost a small battle in a larger war when this amendment failed.
Voters believed that they were being rational when they said no to amendment 12. But in this case, their rationale was actually irrational. Students, who represent a minority of the electorate, rely on older voters; they were let down this past election.
Natalie Barman / Opinion Editor