County Elections Officials Must Protect Voters When Implementing New Election Law

TALLAHASSEE – All Voting is Local Florida and Chispa Florida urged all 67 Florida Supervisors of Elections last week to use their local authority to protect voters as they implement the state’s new restrictive voting law – SB 90.

“It is urgent that steps be taken now to prevent SB 90’s many problematic provisions from becoming obstacles that disenfranchise voters in the next election. Fortunately, you have the authority to implement many aspects of the bill so that voters stand a better chance of not being harmed. To that end, we have developed a series of recommendations for your consideration which would address many of our concerns with the new law,” the advocates wrote in their letter.

The organizations underscored the confusion that SB 90 will cause voters without the intervention of Florida’s supervisors of elections. The groups recommend that officials maintain ballot drop box access and ramp up voter education about changes to the law. Among the recommendations for election officials: 

  • Provide ample opportunity for community input about plans for drop box locations at least two weeks before they are finalized. 
  • Prominently feature drop box locations on each supervisor of elections’ website.
  • Inform voters of new identification requirements for vote-by-mail requests and voter registration changes, as well as new designee limits to designees, through all available means of communication.
  • Budget for additional staffing to maintain ballot drop box accessibility, particularly in historically disenfranchised communities.
  • Add additional staff to handle any increase in the number of ballots that voters need to fix or “cure” due to protests by observers emboldened by the new law. 
  • Provide educational materials for groups doing voter registration so that they know how to navigate the new law. 
  • Ensure that all poll workers and election officials are well versed in voting ID requirements, and voters are not turned away due to confusion, particularly when addressing voters whose gender identity or expression does not match their ID. 

The letter is available here.

Background:
SB 90 radically restricts voting in Florida by limiting ballot drop box accessibility, decreasing  vote-by-mail options, and implementing stringent ID requirements. The legislation was pushed through the legislative process almost entirely along party lines at the behest of Gov. Ron DeSantis despite opposition by all 67 nonpartisan Florida supervisors of elections and numerous voting rights advocates.