Florida legislators, led by Republican leaders, are considering changes (SB 524, HB 7067) to the absentee ballot verification process that has one critic calling the proposal “a recipe for disaster” and another implying the new rules are racist.
Under current law, voters enclose completed mail-in ballots inside “secrecy” envelopes or sleeves before putting them inside another envelope to be mailed to county supervisors of elections or submitted at drop boxes manned by supervisors’ staff.
The new legislative proposals would require voters to put their double-enveloped ballots inside a third envelope and mark the last four digits of their driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, or state ID numbers – whichever number is on file with the election supervisor’s office – to be counted.
Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays, a Republican who is a former state senator, said the proposal is “a recipe for disaster.”
“Getting voters to follow instructions is not easy,” Hays told the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on February 1. “If you think they’re going to follow the instructions with all of these envelopes, you’ve got another thought coming.”
However, Florida Senate bill sponsor Travis Hutson (R-Saint Augustine) told the Senate committee that it should be easy for people to provide their ID on mail-in ballots because the same information is needed to request one.
“I don’t know why it’s so difficult for you to give your information again. So I don’t know if it’s going to create the chilling effect people are talking about,” Hutson said.
The League of Women Voters of Florida President Cecile Scoon believes the proposal is designed to keep Black people from voting.
However, a review of how absentee ballots are processed indicates that other states have requirements that are at least as stringent as those included in the Florida proposal.
For example, in 12 states laws require a signature from a witness or a notary in addition to a voter signature for an absentee ballot to be counted. This means a voter has to seek out another person willing to assert the absentee ballot was processed properly.
These states are Alabama (two witnesses or a notary), Alaska (witness or notary), Louisiana, Minnesota (witness or notary), Mississippi (notary), Missouri (notary) North Carolina (two witnesses or a notary), Oklahoma (notary), Rhode Island (two witnesses or a notary), South Carolina (witness), Virginia (witness), and Wisconsin (witness).
In four states, more detailed information is required to ensure an absentee ballot is counted.
Arkansas requires a copy of the voter’s ID to be returned with the absentee/mail ballot. Georgia requires the voter’s driver’s license number or state identification card number, which is compared with the voter’s registration record. Minnesota requires a voter’s driver’s license number, state identification number, or the last four digits of the social security number. And Ohio requires a voter’s driver’s license number or the last four digits of the social security number.
The current law in Florida related to absentee ballot processing requires only a voter signature.
Republished with permission from The Florida Capital Star.
@John — Two primary things are in play here. Voter privacy/anonymity and the overall integrity of the elections.
Voter anonymity is exercised by the masses every election cycle by simply showing up to any of the official voting locations authorized for the individual and mixing the individual’s ballot among the thousands of others at that location. If one feels the need, or want, of voting by any alternate method that method needs to preserve the integrity of the election by guaranteeing the authenticity of that ballot. The process needs better auditing/verification, but it’s the best we have today.
Guaranteeing the authenticity seems to be a problem in a lot of places. Technology just hasn’t caught up (or been deployed) to meet the needs. Putting a unique UPC or QR style code on every envelope and tying the envelope to a voter registration would accomplish the goal. This doesn’t guarantee that the ballot was filled out by the registered voter, but it does establish a link and is better than nothing. The elections office could scan the envelope, marking the voter as “having voted” and put the envelope in the pile with the rest. Once pulled from the pile to count ballots nobody would know the identities of the ballot owners. Attempts to pass off multiple ballots are easy to detect. Fraudulent ballots wouldn’t get past the gate.
We have pretty good system now that provides for reasonable integrity and privacy. It needs to be beefed up to provide better guarantees to both.
Just do whatever Colorado does, they’re the gold standard for mail-in ballots.
@ John… “A submitted ballot should not be traceable to a specific person.”
ummmm… WHAT? Please tell me you’re more intelligent than that.
Racism isnt the problem, privacy is. Its supposed to be a secret ballot, which writing your ID on would violate. A submitted ballot should not be traceable to a specific person.
O/T – Everyone watch, at 3 p.m. Thursday, February 24th at City Hall, elected officials may make one of the most corrupt votes in Tallahassee history giving away 27 million infrastructure dollars for Stadium seats so they can get a return in massive campaign contributions for their re-election campaigns.
Mayor John Dailey, Nick Maddox, Curtis Richardson, Diane Williams-Cox, Bill Proctor, have already made one of the most irresponsible votes in Tallahassee history. Which ones will do the right thing and which ones will move forward with the most corrupt vote Tallahassee/Leon County has ever seen?
Also, New Revelations: part of the infrastructure dollars in addition to Stadium seat involves infrastructure for setting-up gambling.
All you need to do is make that second envelope a BLANK Envelope except for the Mail To Address. As it is now, you have all that Ballot Design AND a Bar Code with the Numbers below it and the Middle Digit is either an R, a D or an I so every one looking at it KNOWS what Party the Sender belongs to. Stop putting ANY Identifying Marks on them. ALSO, make them “Postage Paid” Envelopes. Also Limit the Drop Boxes to the Elections Office and the Post Offices around town. Put them in from of the Counter so the Postal Employee’s can keep an eye on them and they are in a Lockable room as well.
Nothing on the books nor proposed will stop a rogue SOE from sending staff inside the jail to register ineligible felons who then vote-by-mail.
Every person who cast an illegal vote, involved in ballot harvesting, voting using a deceased person’s name for Biden should be charged with murder for the two Ukrainians that were killed this morning.
Trump Won and kept us out of a war!
And to the local Mayor, it is not “Voter Suppression” when you give away 27 million dollars for stadium seats and you get a return from Seminole Boosters in campaign contributions… It is quid pro quo!
So the new legislative proposals would require voters to use a third envelope and provide an ID number. But …..
“The League of Women Voters of Florida President Cecile Scoon believes the proposal is designed to keep black people from voting.”
How is that statement not racist? Oh yeah, she is on the left.
Thank you for your affirmation that this is an excellent piece of legislation leftists!!!!
Whenever the leftist group think speaking mouthpieces pull out the word “RACIST” it’s 100% sure thing sign they are playing their one and only irrelevant card and they got nothing intelligent to say against the subject they are speaking about.
Thank you for letting us know it’s a great piece of legislation you predictable leftist mouthpieces.
Basically you leftists are offended that this legislation will stop your ability to cheat is what you would say if the truth was not a stranger to your collective mouthpieces.
So.. people of color can buy cars, open bank accounts, buy houses, enroll in countless entitlement programs… but are incapable of getting an ID or to a voting booth. My prayer is that soon our communities of color realize that we’re still on the plantation… the Democrat plantation that is. The Democrat Party was, is, and remains the Party of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, the KKK, and racism. And there’s just no getting around that truth.
… btw… “Getting voters to follow instructions is not easy,”… that’s almost the dumbest thing I’ve read of late. That clown should be recalled on the basis of his own ignorance.
Keeps black people from voting, are you kidding me? How insulting as if to say black people are too stupid to know how to vote.
Why don’t they just say we need another lame excuse to cheat at The Ballot Box so let’s just throw that one out there and see where it sticks.
With early voting so accessible and so easy there is no reason to have all these absentee ballots.
They threw Covid at us just to cause turmoil in the election so they could cheat, so Biden could win (because he couldn’t win otherwise). The Democrats may want to rethink cheating at The Ballot Box because it backfired and they will now be the minority party at which they will never recover.