Florida eyes more changes to voting laws ahead of 2024

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“The Department recommends building connected nan predetermination integrity measures adopted precocious to heighten nan information of nan vote-by-mail process,” states nan report.

Some of nan recommendations could trigger different partisan firestorm from Democrats suspicious of proposals taking purpose astatine mail-in voting.

Republicans successful Florida for galore years had dominated mail-in voting successful nan state, but that shifted complete nan past fewer cycles, particularly during nan Covid-19 pandemic. During nan 2022 elections, astir 2.7 cardinal Floridians voted by mail, pinch 43 percent of nan ballots formed by Democrats compared pinch 36 percent from Republicans.

Brad Ashwell, Florida head of All Voting Is Local, a voting defense group, called nan proposals outlined by nan section arsenic mostly “unnecessary” — though he did praise a proposal for legislators to authorize nan creation of a azygous vote-by-mail ballot petition form.

“The voters are already being harmed by nan past changes they made,” said Ashwell, noting caller changes specified arsenic 1 that forces voters to petition a mail-in ballot aft each wide predetermination and that accrued recognition requirements to petition a ballot.

He added that it would besides beryllium “asinine” to bid up further revisions to mail-in voting up of nan 2024 predetermination erstwhile turnout could beryllium overmuch higher than it was during nan midterms. He besides suggested that prohibiting ballot requests by telephone could beryllium an obstacle to aged voters and those pinch disabilities.

Since nan 2020 predetermination — wherever mail-in voting was many times criticized by erstwhile President Donald Trump — GOP legislators successful nan Sunshine State have pushed done respective changes to mail-in voting, galore of them astatine nan insistence of Gov. Ron DeSantis. Democrats and voting authorities groups wide criticized a 2021 rule that spot a two-ballot limit connected really galore mail-in ballots personification could stitchery for aged aliases sick voters.

DeSantis and Florida Republicans person refused to spell on pinch suggestions to destruct no-excuse message voting, aliases allowing group to ballot by message without providing a reason. But they person made cardinal changes specified arsenic banning nan postulation of much than 2 mail-in ballots from non-family members, a believe derided by DeSantis arsenic “ballot harvesting.” Lawmakers besides put restrictions connected driblet boxes wherever group driblet disconnected their ballots and required voters to renew their ballot requests aft each wide election. Parts of this rule is still being challenged successful national court.

Last year, legislators contemplated requiring voters to adhd individual accusation — for illustration a driver’s licence number aliases nan past 4 digits of their Social Security number to what they message backmost to supervisors, a move that would person apt required voters to usage an other envelope. Currently, supervisors comparison nan signatures connected nan ballot letter cover and what nan elector has connected file.

One Republican predetermination supervisor called nan first connection from GOP legislators a “recipe for disaster.” Legislators backed disconnected nan change and alternatively directed nan Department of State to travel up pinch recommendations connected really to summation ID requirements.

In January, predetermination supervisors crossed nan authorities officially chimed successful pinch their ain study informing astir making wide changes.

A moving group of Democratic and Republican supervisors submitted a study to nan Department of State that said requiring voters to put their individual accusation connected ballots would beryllium a “seismic” alteration that would summation costs, confuse voters and perchance lead to personality theft arsenic good arsenic delays successful counting ballots.

The last study from nan section did not see immoderate recommendations that voters beryllium required to put identifying accusation connected their ballot envelopes, opting alternatively to attraction connected nan “ballot petition process.”

Mark Earley, supervisor of elections for Leon County and caput of nan supervisors’ statewide association, told Department of State officials that section supervisors appreciated nan “credence” fixed their concerns astir imaginable recognition changes. Earley, however, added that immoderate of nan recommendations could “pose challenges.”

In a little question and reply Thursday, Earley said eliminating nan expertise to petition ballots by telephone “is going to inhibit a batch of voters” though he said he understood nan desire to create a insubstantial way for requests.

Source politico.com