DEMOCRATIC PARTY POSITION:
We are committed to supporting our democratic system with its election systems devoid of fraud and manipulation to ensure the voting rights and value of votes of all Americans can be easily carried out (in person or by mail-in ballot), counted, and respected.
REPUBLICANS IN FLORIDA:
Republicans favor dismantling the 60-year-old Voting Rights Act that protects the right of all American citizens to vote and encourage measures to make access to voting harder for many Americans.
In 2023, the Republican majority Florida state legislature and the GOP governor passed S.B. 7050 (an omnibus voter suppression law) as a follow-up to S.B. 90 in 2021. Both bills attempt to curtail voting, voter registration, and voter engagement activities by:
- Requiring that all voters previously registered for “vote by mail” request mail-in ballots every two years (every general election cycle). This means that they must again register for the 2024 election with election supervisors required to add personal identifying numbers to the voter record (Voter’s Florida Driver’s License or Florida ID Card number, or the last four digits of his/her Social Security number).
- Allowing voters to personally pick up a mail-in ballot only if they are unable to go to an early voting location or their assigned Election Day polling place.
- Banning anyone who is not an immediate family member from requesting a ballot on behalf of a voter, and banning third-party voter registration organizations (3PVROs) from collecting mail ballot requests.
- Directing mail-in ballot requests to be canceled if any first-class mail to the voter is returned as undeliverable.
- Imposing a substantial fine for late-returned voter registration applications or applications accidentally submitted to the wrong county by third-party voter registration organizations (3PVROs) and attempts to curtail their voter registration and engagement activities by:
- Barring noncitizen volunteers and individuals with certain prior felony convictions from conducting voter registration activities on behalf of 3PRVOs.
- Criminalizing routine retention of voter information for any purpose except voter registration, thus making it a felony to retain voter information for other activities such as get-out-the-vote efforts.
- Requiring 3PVROs organizations to re-register for every single election cycle.
- Prohibiting pre-filled information on registration applications.
- Shortening the amount of time 3PVRO organizations have to return registration applications from 14 days to 10 and increasing the fine associated with late delivery.
In 2021 under S.B. 90, Republicans succeeded in limiting the availability of drop-off boxes for the collection of vote-by-mail votes. The law significantly scales back the number of drop boxes throughout the state. The law makes it so drop boxes are only allowed at a county’s permanent voting site or an early voting location and only accessible during early voting hours (between 8-12 hours per day). If counties want to offer a drop box outside of early voting hours, they can only do so at a supervisor’s main office or permanent branch office – and most counties only have one of these. Additionally, drop boxes must also now be “continuously and physically” monitored by an election employee.
In 2020, almost 1.5 million Floridians voted using a drop box, meaning that about 30% of all mail-in ballots cast in the state were submitted via a drop box.