Saturday, July 08, 2023

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: Dearth of mail-in ballot requests raises fears of voter disenfranchisement. (Anne Geggis, Florida Politics, July 8, 2023

Don't forget to contact your local Supervisor of Elections and renew your vote-by-mail status.

From Florida Politics:

Dearth of mail-in ballot requests raises fears of voter disenfranchisement. 

Anne Geggis, Florida Politics, July 8, 2023

New legislation meant all mail-in ballot requests expired on Jan. 1.

Six months since prior vote-by-mail requests expired, just a fraction of voters have renewed their absentee request, arousing fear that millions of Floridians could discover too late that their ballot is not arriving in the mail.

It’s an unprecedented situation — and a race against the clock — brought on by the first piece of post-2020 election legislation passed that changed election rules. The 2021 law (SB 90) calls for all vote-by-mail requests to expire on Jan. 1 after each General Election. Before, voters need only check a box on the ballot to be registered to vote absentee in the next election.

Supervisors of Elections have never been starting at zero for absentee ballot requests before. And it’s got voting advocates worried about those people who are accustomed to the mailed-in reminder that it’s time to vote. The new laws make it so that Supervisors of Elections purge their mail-in ballot requests every Jan. 1 after a General Election.

“This is a huge, big deal and very intentional,” said Cecile Scoon, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “The new legislation has been consistently making it more difficult to vote and this is just one of many ways.”

In Broward County, 36,274 voters are signed up to receive their ballots by mail, compared to the 420,885 requests they had on file before the law meant their expiration. In Palm Beach County, about 90,000 have absentee ballot requests on file, compared to more than 353,000 requests that went out for the 2022 General Election.

In Leon County, the outreach proportionally, has proven more successful. About 26,000 voters have signed up since about 64,000 vote-by-mail requests expired, according to Alex Mosca, spokesman for the Leon County Supervisor of Elections.

Promulgators of the legislation called the law a way to increase the transparency of voting and stop ballot harvesting, in which a third party collects completed mail-in ballots and drops them off.

“Florida took action this Legislative Session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis said at the time he signed the legislation, in a prepared statement. “Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity.”

In the larger counties, it’s been an uphill climb to get the numbers of mail-in voters back to where they were.

“People are not aware the Republican Legislature sunsetted their vote-by-mail registration,” said Laurie Plotnick, President of the Broward Democratic Senior Caucus and the state Florida Democratic Senior Caucus.

Plotnick estimates that, since June, its volunteers have texted 250,000 people a link to the Supervisor of Elections form to renew their vote-by-mail request. The majority of Broward County’s votes come in by that method.

Another hurdle is that SB 90 raised the threshold for providing proof of identification to receive a mail-in ballot. It requires voters to put either a license number or Social Security digits on the request to complete a mail-in ballot request.

Professor Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political science professor, said it’s going to exclude people who don’t have these IDs, people who have concerns about writing personal identifying information on a form, and those whose Social Security numbers have been compromised.

He predicts overall voter participation is going to drop. The levels seen voting in this year’s municipal elections already showed that, he said. Smith was an expert witness for the case against SB 90 that was heard at the Federal Appeals court in Atlanta. The court reversed a lower court’s ruling against the law in April.

“Some people can’t even provide that information,” Smith said of the new requirements. “We’re going to see this come to a head in the Primary Election in 2024. There’s no question about it.”

Broward County Commissioner Steve Geller, who served as state Senator, said that he remembers when Republicans wanted to make absentee voting more widely available because absentee voters were more likely Republicans.

The next major vote will be for the Presidential Primary on March 19, and that means that vote-by-mail requests must be in before Feb. 6.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing


Anonymous said...

Federal government should take charge of national elections... because corrupt local and state GOP politicans and their operatives like to try and cheat by making it harder to vote. The winner take all system in the states is already a scam and so is the electoral college system. In what democracy does the candidate who gets the most votes lose an election? That's the very definition of a sham voting system. The USA is not a beacon of democracy with these kinds of scams happening... that and disenfranchisement and frivolous litigation to overturn a free and fair election. This is banana republic trash brought to us by banana republicans... sore losers and entitled to win regardless.

Anonymous said...

Look up "DeSantis State Guard members quit." Twas a flopped political stunt. Instead of pay police more.. pull expensive political stunts.