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


of Lands and Immigration shall assume the office of Commissioner of Agriculture, and his duties as such shall be prescribed by the first Legislature assembled under this Constitution.

Section 9. A general election shall be held in each county in this State on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, A. D. 1888, and every two years thereafter, for all elective State and county officers whose terms of office are about to expire, or for any office that shall have become vacant.

Section 10. The first election for County Judge, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Sheriff, Tax Assessor, Tax Collector, County Treasurer, County Superintendent of Public Instruction, County Surveyor, Justices of the Peace, Constables and all other elective County Officers shall be at the general election in 1888.

Section 11. It shall be the duty of the President of this Convention immediately on its adjournment to certify to the Governor a copy of this Constitution.

Section 12. Upon receipt of such certified copy the Governor shall forthwith announce the fact by proclamation, to be published in such newspapers in this State as may be deemed requisite for general information, and five printed copies of such Constitution shall be transmitted by the Secretary of State to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, and five to the County Judge of each county, which shall be kept on file in their respective offices for examination by any person desiring the same.

Section 13. All Courts as now organized and constituted shall continue with their jurisdiction until the Legislature shall conform to the requirements of this Constitution the jurisdiction of such Courts as, under this Constitution, are to exercise in whole or in part the jurisdiction of Courts now organized.