The Florida legislature has passed a bill which will strengthen the integrity of the Florida voting system. The bill brings back request only ballots by mail and those ballots being returned will not have party affiliation identifiers. The bill also eliminates the potential for ballot harvesting, leaving it up to voters to turn in their own ballots rather than risk having a third party turn in requested ballots. The bill extends the zone of no solicitation from 100 feet to 150 feet from the entrance of a polling place or ballot-by-mail drop box location. The bill also cleans up the section concerning felons’ ability to vote by abiding by Amendment 4 in the 2018 general election: the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative.
Another strength in the new voting law is that those who want to update or change their voter registration they must provide more information such as their Florida drivers licences or birth date or the last four of their social security number. This clause prevents a voter’s party registration or address from being changed without their knowledge. It would also help keep someone from requesting a ballot by mail and sending to a different address, in essence, enabling a stranger to strip a voter of their right to vote.
The bill also strengthens the security around the state’s voting system from being hacked or results manipulated. It will also cause county supervisor of elections offices to update voter turnout data three times during elections day and the number of vote-by-mail ballots requested and received daily. And the major change concerning drop boxes where vote-by-mail ballots can be dropped, each drop box must be monitored by an elections office official in person and emptied at the end of each day.
As for candidates, the only major change is one who is seeking public office with no party affiliation, the bill causes them to abide by the same rules as political party candidates, in that they must be registered NPA (No Party Affiliation) 365 days before the qualification period. This clause would keep political party operatives from jumping in as NPA during election years, often seen as opportunistic and unfair as political party candidates do not have that same option.