Vote-By-Mail Change Sparks Debate in Florida Senate

Vote-By-Mail Change Sparks Debate in Florida Senate

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — After Florida has received widespread praise for its handling of the 2020 election, Republicans and Democrats clashed Tuesday as a Senate committee approved a bill that would require voters to more frequently request vote-by-mail ballots.

Senate Ethics and Elections Chairman Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who is sponsoring the measure (SB 90), said it would help improve the security of the vote-by-mail process, citing concerns about issues such as people moving frequently and ballots going to their old addresses.

“This bill gives vote-by-mail security and choice,” Baxley said before his committee voted 5-4 to approve the measure. “This is a good bill. … I feel sure that you’ll be pleased in the long run, despite your fears and concerns. It’ll work better.” 

But Democrats said the bill would hurt voting by mail, with Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, pointing to a history of voter suppression in Florida and the upcoming 2022 gubernatorial election, when Republican governor Ron DeSantis will be on the ballot.

“This is clearly going to reduce vote-by-mail in Democratic counties. … And so, I can’t support this. I’m sorry that I even have to take it there, but it’s disheartening to look at this for what I see it is,” Bracy said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing many people to be reluctant to go to the polls, more than 4.85 million Floridians cast votes by mail in the November election. That included about 2.19 million registered Democrats and 1.5 million registered Republicans, with the rest of the ballots cast by unaffiliated or third-party voters.

Voting by mail caused massive political and legal fights in other states, particularly as former President Donald Trump disputed his election loss to President Joe Biden. But the vote-by-mail process went smoothly in Florida, with election results available quickly.

Under current law, Floridians’ vote-by-mail ballot requests are good for the years including the next two general elections. For example, if a person requests a vote-by-mail ballot this year, the request would be good for all elections through 2024 — as general elections will be held in 2022 and 2024, according to a Senate staff analysis.

But Baxley’s bill would scale that back so the request would be good only for the year containing the next general election. For instance, if a person requests a vote-by-mail ballot this year, the request would be good for all elections through 2022.

The effect would be that people would have to request vote-by-mail ballots more often.

Tuesday’s vote was along party lines, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it.

Sen. Ileana Garcia, R-Miami, praised the measure, calling it a “wonderful opportunity to reset, to once again engage voter confidence. And all of this in the name of transparency. If it’s working well, well, maybe it’ll work a little better.”

But Democrats said the change isn’t needed.

“We will not get the same numbers of vote-by-mail, and, unfortunately, I guess that’s the intent here,” Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, said.

14 Responses to "Vote-By-Mail Change Sparks Debate in Florida Senate"

  1. I like this. Too many part-time residents in southern Florida who have the opportunity to vote twice: by mail here and in person or by mail in their Northern home states.

  2. There is a HUGE difference between ‘mail-in-vote’ and ‘absentee vote’ [look up the difference]. The Country needs to do away with the mail-in-vote scam completely. And while they’re at it outlaw ‘fractionalized vote’ computer software – https: //

  3. I like your train of thought on this Tony. Purge all rolls and re-register with required documentation… love it! True Democracy deserves and demands the highest level of continuous scrutiny.

    Don’t expect Mr. Ward to respond. Progressives and NaziCrats can never deal with the follow up question seeking clarification and fact-based support of their tirades and accusations. Likely just a paid-per-post troll anyway.

  4. Tell me Mr. Ward, If you are not The President & First Lady, a Military Personnel over Seas, Elderly or Disabled, how are Voters being suppressed? I keep hearing how having to show a Photo ID is voter suppression but no one EVER says HOW it is voter suppression so, PLEASE Mr. Ward, tell us how voter are being suppressed.

    I say, right now, PURGE ALL Voter Rolls and make everyone re-register to Vote. Make them ALL show a Government Issued Photo ID as well as THREE pieces of Mail in their name at that Address. This past Election SHOWS how important showing an ID to Vote IS and how WRONG mail in Voting is. You would have until July of 2022 to Re-Register so, there’s no Suppression.

  5. A tired retort Mr. Ward… and classic Alynski Projection to boot. And by the way, the only Conservative in the Bush family was Barbara. The rest were/are Progressive Globalists. The just added a \ to the P too make it look like an R.

  6. So voter suppression is the approach Republicans will use at both the Florida and national level. Meanwhile, lifelong Republicans like me, registered as a Republican in Florida since 1982, campaigned for Jeb Bush 3 times, are no longer welcome in the party of Trump/Desantis. You are shrinking a small tent.

  7. We need to do away with all voting by mail, as there are obviously, on its face, CHAiN OF CUSTOdY ISSUES with it. And my grown son, registered as a Democrat, told me himself that he received SEVEN BALLOTS, all addressed to him, in the mail this last election (November.) Clearly, the Democrats don’t intend to play fairly.

  8. “This is clearly going to reduce vote-by-mail in Democratic counties. … And so, I can’t support this. I’m sorry that I even have to take it there, but it’s disheartening to look at this for what I see it is,” Bracy said.

    Bracy, a Democrat of course, also cited ” history of voter suppression in Florida”.

    Let’s think about this: why would this affect Democrats more that Republicans? …….
    The only reason I can think of is they won’t be able to seize millions of ballots and fill them out at warehouses etc.

  9. I agree with everything below. One Fraud Vote is considered “Voting Fraud”. You keep bashing Trump say that he is lying about Mass Voting Fraud, well, Prove him wrong, Investigate ALL 50 States for Voting Fraud. You wont because you are afraid that you will find that MOST if not ALL has some amount of Voting Fraud, therefore, “Mass Voting Fraud”.

  10. I agree with both Tony and Hope. Both make excellent, practical, and reality-based points. If you can get off your a$$ to get to a weed store, video game store, fast food restaurant, or welfare line… you can get off your a$$ and get to a voting booth. We should eliminate and/or minimize mail-in ballots to the greatest extent possible, open early voting for one week only, and require a valid government issued photo ID to vote. If voting and democracy are important to you, then prove it by making an effort to engage in it. If not, then just stay on your couch and shut the he// up about it.

    As I’ve noted before, during the 2020 Primary and General Elections, we received mail ballot request forms from other states and addressed to people who didn’t – and never – lived at our address. We even received mail ballot requests from a state we lived in years ago. Interesting enough, we received no other correspondence address to these people other than mail ballot request forms… and haven’t received any mail addressed to these people since.

    I don’t care if you “cancel” me or “block” me or “censor” me for saying it… but there is no doubt in my mind that mail ballot election fraud, perpetrated by the NaziCrats and others, was overwhelmingly pervasive in the 2020 elections… and we had better wake the he// up about it or risk losing our freedoms, liberty, rights, and our Great Republic.

    May God continue to Bless America

  11. There needs to be a bipartisan task force on cleaning up the Nationwide voter fraud epidemic. They should put Governor DeSantis in charge and make it retroactive to the 2020 election… find out what happened, prosecute anyone who committed voter fraud, and make the voting process squeaky-clean going forward.

    Mail-in ballots equal fraud and everyone knows it. Those who participated in the illegal actions should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Beginning with Stacey Abrams and Mark Zuckerberg?

  12. The President & First Lady, Military Personnel over Seas, Elderly and the Disabled should be the ONLY ones requesting a Mail In Ballot. ALL others should be required to Vote in person and MUST show a Government Issued Photo ID to get the Ballot. I don’t care if you are vacationing in Rome, TOO BAD. Deal with it.

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