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. The Board of County Commissioners of each county in the State, not oftener than once in every two years, upon the application of one-fourth of the registered voters of any county, shall call and provide for an election in the county in which application is made, to decide whether the sale of intoxicating liquors, wines or beer shall be prohibited therein, the question to be determined by a majority vote of those voting at the election called under this section, which election shall be conducted in the manner prescribed by law for holding general elections; Provided, That intoxicating liquors, either spirituous, vinous, or malt, shall not be sold in any election district in which a majority vote was cast against the same at the said election. Elections under this section shall be held within sixty days from the time of presenting said application, but if any such election should thereby take place within sixty days of any State or National election, it shall be held within sixty days after any such State or National election.

Section 2. The Legislature shall provide necessary laws to carry out and enforce the provisions of Section 1 of this Article.