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. This Constitution shall be submitted to the people of the State of Florida for ratification on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, A. D. 1886, and it shall require a majority of the votes cast upon the question to determine its ratification or rejection.

Section 2. At such election each qualified elector shall express his assent or dissent, by having written or printed upon the ticket which he shall vote the words, "For the Constitution," or "Against the Constitution;" such election being subject to the same regulations and restrictions as are now prescribed by law. And in case of its ratification by the people, the Governor shall forthwith cause proclamation to be made of the fact, and it shall go into effect on the first day of January, A. D. 1887.