Constitution of 1885

Delegates convened in June 1885 to revise Florida’s state constitution. The existing constitution had been in effect since 1868, when it was adopted as part of Florida’s reentry into the United States following the Civil War. The 1885 constitution legitimized poll taxes as a prerequisite for voting, which ultimately disproportionately disenfranchised African Americans and many poor whites.

Constitution of 1885




Section 1. Either branch of the Legislature, at a regular session thereof, may propose amendments to this Constitution; and if the same be agreed to by three-fifths of all the members elected to each House, such proposed amendments shall be entered upon their respective Journals with the yeas and nays, and published in one newspaper in each county where a newspaper is published, for three months immediately preceding the next general election of Representatives, at which election the same shall be submitted to the electors of the State, for approval or rejection. If a majority of the electors voting upon the amendments at such election shall adopt the amendments, the same shall become a part of the Constitution. The proposed amendments shall be so submitted as to enable the electors to vote on each amendment separately.

Section 2. If at any time the Legislature, by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of both Houses, shall determine that a revision of this Constitution is necessary, such determination shall be entered upon their respective Journals, with the yeas and nays thereon. Notice of said action shall be published weekly in one newspaper in every county in which a newspaper is published, for three months preceding the next general election of Representatives, and in those counties where no newspaper is published, notice shall be given by posting at the several polling precincts in such counties for six weeks next preceding said election. The electors at said election may vote for or against the revision in question. If a majority of the electors so voting be in favor of revision, the Legislature chosen at such election shall provide by law for a Convention to revise the Constitution, said Convention to be held within six months after the passage of such law. The Convention shall consist of a number equal to the membership of the House of Representatives, and shall be apportioned among the several counties in the same manner as members of said House.