Florida is the last state in the nation still to have a constitution marked with one remnant of the Jim Crow era: a rule allowing legislators to ban Asian immigrants from owning land. This November, voters have a chance to remove the so-called "alien land law" of 1926 from Florida's Constitution. That would complete a nationwide purging of the rules once in force in more than a dozen states."What it does is eliminate the unfortunate vestiges of racial discrimination," said Sen. Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, who persuaded legislators to put it on the fall ballot after years of lobbying his colleagues.
Well, it lost. Florida voters voted NO to a constitutional amendment to remove the alien land law from its constitution, 52% to 48%. That means 3,728,731 people voted to RETAIN a constitutional provision that allows Asians to be stripped of the right to own property by the Legislature.
Of course, the provision in Florida's constitution is completely inoperative. The U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause trumps state constitutions. So the Florida law is "merely" symbolic. But what a horrible symbol of racism, intolerance, and xenophobia.