By Trevor Aaronson
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
Constitutional amendments can bring sweeping changes to Florida, but the money and special interest groups behind these amendments often go underreported by the media and unnoticed by the public.
On Election Day, Florida voters will choose the fate of 11 proposed constitutional amendments.
Voter’s Edge Florida
Through a partnership with a nonprofit political money tracker and eight of Florida’s NPR member stations, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting is working to increase the availability of information about this year’s ballot measures.
FCIR’s constitutional amendments project, led by reporter/blogger Ashley Lopez, begins with Voter’s Edge Florida — a website created by FCIR and nonprofit, nonpartisan political money tracker MapLight.
Voter’s Edge Florida offers citizens and journalists detailed information about each of the 11 ballot measures, including what your vote means, who’s funding support and opposition, who’s endorsing the amendments, and which media outlets are publishing editorials. We’re updating campaign finance information weekly as new data becomes available.
To help spread the word about Voter’s Edge Florida and inform Floridians about this year’s proposed constitutional amendments, FCIR partnered with eight of Florida’s NPR stations — WLRN-Miami Herald News in South Florida, WMFE Public Media in Central Florida, WUSF 89.7 News in Tampa Bay, WJCT Public Radio in Jacksonville, WUFT 89.1 in Gainesville, WUWF Public Media in Pensacola, WQCS 88.9 in the Treasure Coast, and WGCU in Southwest Florida.
FCIR and these eight NPR member stations pooled resources for a series of five radio reports on the ballot measures. These reports, each of which was edited by a different Florida public radio news director, have started airing around the state and will be available over the coming days at FCIR. As a capstone to the project, FCIR will distribute a print story about Amendment 4 — whose supporters have raised more than $3.5 million — to our network of newspaper partners.
As an investigative nonprofit, FCIR is committed to telling the stories that aren’t being told. This series on the ballot measures is one example of the work we’re doing, and we encourage new readers to review our previous, award-winning investigations.
But investigative reporting is time-consuming and expensive, and FCIR can only do so much given the funding we receive from foundations. With greater public support, FCIR could do more journalism like this. With Election Day around the corner, and the holidays nearing, we hope you’ll consider supporting FCIR by making a tax-deductible donation.