The Florida Senate advanced a measure on Wednesday to ban ballot drop boxes and change eligibility requirements for mail-in ballots.
The measure was introduced by Republican state Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, Florida, and approved by the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on Wednesday with a 4-2 majority, according to The Palm Beach Post.
The bill would ban ballot drop boxes and says that no vote-by-mail ballot recipient can “physically return a voted vote-by-mail ballot to the supervisor by placing the envelope containing his or her marked ballot in a dropbox.”
Republicans in Florida Senate want to eliminate vote-by-mail drop boxes, a key to the efficient return of so many ballots in 2020. Amendment to SB 90, to be heard in a committee Wednesday, wipes out existing drop box language. Election supervisors are alarmed. pic.twitter.com/iO9QabHHgE
— Steve Bousquet (@stevebousquet) March 9, 2021
The bill would require ballot requests to include identifying information, such as a Florida driver’s license or the last four digits of a Social Security number. No mail-in ballots would be distributed without a direct request from that elector, according to the bill.
“Folks, there’s nothing wrong with securing a great system,” Baxley told the Post.
More than 4 million Florida voters opted for the vote-by-mail ballot in the November election, with about 1.5 million using drop boxes, according to the Post. Former President Donald Trump won Florida by 374,852 votes.
The bill also reduces the amount of time a voter is eligible for a mail-in ballot, requiring a request for a mail-in ballot be submitted a year prior to the next general election. This could cost the state millions of dollars in notifications and processing, according to the Post.
“Changing the vote-by-mail process, especially following a major election, makes no sense unless you’re looking for ways to confuse voters into not voting or to make it harder so they don’t vote,” Trish Neely of the Florida League of Women Voters of Florida said, according to ABC News.
The bill will move on to be heard by the Rules Committee and the chamber floor.
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