The second amendment to the United States constitution is the right to keep and bear arms. Just uttering the words “second amendment” in conservative circles stirs growling and shouting about protecting guns. That sentiment could bode well for pro-pot supporters in Florida. Appearing on the November 4 ballot is amendment 2 – you could say, the second amendment – asking voters whether or not to legalize medical marijuana. The ballot language clearly points out that this is about medical cannabis. But will gun nuts read past “Amendment 2?”
According to WFSU in Tallahassee, at least one voter in Leon County told an elections office staffer he thought the measure was about guns and that he would be sure to vote for the second amendment in November. This conjures images the sort of backwoods, I’m a conservative because I like guns-kind of stereotype. Educated pro-gun conservatives surely would know the difference between a two-century old constitutional amendment in the Bill of Rights and a medical pot state issue, but a lot of voters enter the ballot box not knowing the details of various elections.
If a phone call by one voter is any indication that there’s a chance people will vote yes on something they think is protecting guns, it would be a good thing for those behind attorney John Morgan’s push to legalize medical marijuana, “For the People.” According to polls, conservative Republicans are more likely to vote against the measure than Democrats and Republicans are also more likely to be pro-gun. A Tampa Bay Times poll earlier this month showed a significant amount of voters still unsure whether or not to support medical marijuana. Republicans, however, were the most likely to have already made up their mind.
Back to the WFSU report, a reporter there spoke with an election official and a political scientist. The Leon County Supervisor or Elections, Ion Sancho, called the voter phone call an “isolated incident.” However, the political scientist, University of Central Florida professor Aubrey Jewett, said voter confusion is not uncommon. I spoke previously about voter tendencies with Stetson University College of Law political scientist Dr. T. Wayne Bailey. He calls this type of behavior, “bumper sticker appeal.”
“The level of lack of information tends to breed susceptibility to [that],” Bailey said. He explained uneducated voters often make decisions on Election Day based on few details. Bumper stickers, misleading political advertisements, clever mailers and even a catchy name can sometimes be enough to win a vote. So, if only one voter in the entire state thinks Florida’s amendment 2 is the same thing as the Second Amendment, it’s probably not a thing. But if there is something to it, John Morgan should probably have some Second Amendment bumper stickers printed. Like, now.
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