The following is my personal opinion and not that of any organization in which I may have an affiliation.
Being a Libertarian in Palm Beach County affords me the ability to not be pressured by conservatives or liberals / Republicans or Democrats to vote a certain way. In other words, I feel zero obligation to simply go down my ballot and vote for all the Republicans or all the Democrats. And, sadly, this election season, there are no Libertarians for whom to vote. I vote for maximum freedom of the individual regardless of political party, which makes this year one of the hardest since 1983 when I first had the ability to vote, as the bulk of the candidates are anti-freedom — no matter their rhetoric.
So, we’ll start off with some links to a few orgs I tend to like with their voter guides though I do not agree with each and every assessment. It should also be noted, some of the amendments on the ballot should NOT be in the Florida Constitution but should be in Florida Statute. Similarly, this bundling of different issues within one amendment is tragic and should never happen again.
Countywide School Question: I will be voting NO on this effort to quadruple the school tax on Palm Beach County property owners and indirectly to renters. The reason is basic, the school board does not need the money. It has $3 billion at its disposal already and can easily reduce some of its administrative costs to afford the $150 million they say they need. It is awful that teachers are not paid more and students in our county do not feel safe while on school property because of the mismanagement of the school district.
Amendment 1: I will be voting YES even though I struggled with this one because, like the Libertarians have said, it does not address the core problem with property taxes. The only reason I am voting YES is to help reign in government spending which continues to be bloated. If passed, this amendment will save the average Florida homeowner $240 per year on their property taxes.
Amendment 2: Similar in scope is Amendment 2 which I will be voting YES. The reservations I have about it are similar to those of Amendment 1, but it will help property owners who are not protected by the “Save Our Homes” law and will limit the property tax increases for non-homesteaded properties to no more than 10%.
Amendment 3: This may seem counterintuitive for a Libertarian to vote NO on a question of gambling; however, I am voting NO. This amendment is a protectionist sham. While I am in favor of casino gambling and the Florida government has done a miserable job from a free market perspective, any expansion of gambling would require a 60 percent approval from the voters—a difficult threshold to overcome. This is not the answer to an already broken system and would not likely result in an expansion gambling put would likely protect those already in the business from encountering additional competition.
Amendment 4: I have been a long-time supporter of restoring one’s rights after they have served their time. I will be voting YES to automatically restore the rights of those who have completed their obligations to society after committing a criminal offense. I would suggest this amendment does not go far enough; however, it is better than what we have today. The process a felon needs to go through to restore their rights in Florida is horrible and must be corrected or, as with Amendment 4, improved.
Amendment 5: I will absolutely positively be voting YES on this amendment! It is telling how Governor Rick Scott, when he was running for governor stated repeatedly how bloated the state government budget was at the time. Now that he’s been governor it has the largest budget ever! So no matter who is in charge, Democrat or Republican we never have reduced government spending. We need the financial constraints Amendment 5 offers to control government spending. We have plenty of reserves and backup resources so that if something truly disastrous happened, we could weather the storm and the amendment still affords a vote of 2/3 of the legislature to handle extraordinary events.
Amendment 6: This is one of those HORRIBLE bundled amendments where a voter will be strongly in support of one aspect, yet is strongly against another aspect. This amendment bundles three different issues! I will be voting NO even though I agree with part of the amendment, the rest of the amendment, not so much.
Amendment 7: Like Amendment 6, this is a bundled amendment and I will be voting NO. My NO vote is not a vote against first responders!!
Amendment 8: This amendment was removed from the ballot.
Amendment 9: I will be voting NO. Again, this is another bundled amendment, this time dealing with offshore drilling and vaping inside businesses which have nothing to do with one another. I will be voting NO because businesses have a right to decide whether or not to allow vaping (it is none of the government’s business) and we already have laws heavily regulating natural gas production and offshore drilling in the state.
Amendment 10: Yet another bundled amendment which is highly unfortunate as I am forced to vote NO. If enacted, this amendment would cause duplication of bureaucracies between state and federal government agencies which is not needed. The amendment would also eliminate a county’s ability to abolish constitutional offices and make them permanent. This amendment could have easily been four separate amendments, debated on their own criterium.
Amendment 11: I will be voting YES as this amendment removes obsolete language while enabling foreign-born non-citizens to own real estate in Florida. Basically, this will right some wrongs and, hopefully, offer better property rights to Floridians.
Amendment 12: I will be voting NO on this issue even though I have some strong reservations in doing so. While lobbying is rife with abuse in the Florida legislature (and that alone would lead me to a YES vote) it does not trump one’s right to free speech and their ability to earn a living. I do not have the full answer to solving the lobbying problem in Tallahassee and even here in Palm Beach County, I just know Amendment 12 is not the answer.
Amendment 13: I will be voting YES to ban gambling on the racing of dogs. As with a few of the other amendments, I have serious problems with such a thing being in our Florida Constitution, but sadly, this is one of those few moments I could be somewhat accused of being hypocritical. Just like with the “pregnant pigs” amendment and medical marijuana, it is sad we are here putting something like this in our constitution (if it passes). While I am on the side of gamblers and para-mutuals, when it comes to animals, especially when I personally have seen the abuse some of these animals have had to endure, you get little sympathy from me. Gamble on anything you want so long as it is voluntary in nature; I can guarantee you that the bulk of these dogs are not doing it voluntarily.
As for the Justices and Judges, I have no opinion to offer.
Florida Representative District 89: I do not like either of them. Neither is closer than the other to being considered a “freedom-based” candidate. Worst case scenario, I’d go with the underdog Bonfiglio as it is clear to me Caruso will win by a landslide. And who knows, there’s still quite some time between now and election day, perhaps things could turn around.
Florida Representative District 87: I have met both and though I like both candidates, I cannot recommend one over the other. If pushed into a corner, I guess I’d go with LeBeu, the underdog third party candidate as we do agree on a few issues.
Florida Representative District 86: Oh my, just NO on both. If you live in this district, my sympathies are with you. Again, if pushed into a corner, I guess you could with Willhite, who is a good guy, but there is little to like from a Florida legislature standpoint.
Florida Representative District 85: Rick Roth is the clear choice for freedom-loving voters. He’s not perfect, but he is far better than his opponent.
Florida Representative District 82: MaryLynn Magar is the clear choice for North County voters.
Florida State Senator District 30: This is another pointless exercise as Powell will win, but I would be writing in Josh Santos.
Florida State Senator District 25: While not on board 100% with Gayle Harrell, she would have a strong lead in my book over her opponent.
Commissioner of Agriculture: Skip this race, they are both terrible. Actually, that may be an overstatement, but I would not vote for either as their negatives outweigh any positives they have. And they both have positives, it’s just a shame we can’t mesh them both into one candidate.
Chief Financial Officer: Undecided. For me, it’s a tossup between Ring, Petronis and writing in Dembinsky. I likely will not decide until I am in the voting booth, quite frankly.
Florida Attorney General: I will be voting for Jeff Siskind. Moody and Shaw seem to be the opposite of freedom lovers while Siskind is — at least as best one can be as attorney general.
Florida Governor: Another tough race for a Libertarian to decide for whom to vote. Ultimately, I would go with Darcy Richardson. Like most candidates this year, he is not perfect from a Libertarian standpoint but seems to be the closest in the race.
U.S. Congress District 22: Tough choice and this would be another I would have to bow out. I can’t agree with either candidate on the bulk of the issues and certainly would never label either as a freedom-lover, unfortunately. While I have a deep respect for Deutch and he’s a good guy, he’s a no-vote. I could be wrong, but unlike Deutch, Kimaz’s campaign seems to be ego-driven rather than issue driven.
U.S. Congress District 20: Well, this is a no-brainer. First, whether you like him or not, Hastings will win. And for that reason alone, I would write-in Jay Alan Bonner.
U.S. Congress District 18: Brian Mast and Lauren Baer, what an awesome race. It is a shame neither is about freedom. They both want to take away your AR-15 while espousing all other types of government force onto our lives. No thank you, skip it!
U.S. Senator from Florida: Again, similar to above, neither the Republican or the Democrat are very good choices. It pains me to say that I am not able to vote for either the Republican or the Democrat and may have to sit this one out. Scott supports gun control while picking winners and losers with the unprovable strategy of corporate welfare, while Nelson is an empty suit, only showing up around election time. Nelson is another picker of winners and losers. He supports exempting my much-loved premium cigars from federal regulation which I appreciate, but he does so not out of principle which is rather pathetic. This is a link to all the candidates for U.S. Senate in Florida, pick a write-in candidate that seems the least crazy and write their name in correctly on the ballot so it gets counted or sit this one out. This is a sad election season.