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Elections bill could assist crooks in stealing your identity

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would put your ballot signature online for possibly everyone to see.

Many are concerned their signature will be copied if others gain access to it.

“If there’s a law passed, we’re required to implement it. But we also are very enthusiastic about telling our legislators we don’t like this part of it. Please think about the exposure for our voters,” said Jennifer Edwards, Collier County supervisor of elections.

In her office, they compare your signature on the back of a mail-in ballot to what they have on file. That’s how they confirm your identity. Under the new bill – HB 7041 – they’d have to share the information.

“We’re talking about the signatures on the back of the vote-by-mail ballot, being provided to the parties and the candidates, not to the general public,” Edwards explained.

While the information would be password protected, there are concerns about the information being accessed and shared publicly. It’s a treasure trove for someone who wants to steal your identity.

Kerry Black, supervisor of Collier’s vote-by-mail program, said making the comparison is necessary.

“We look for the sweet loops and swirls on some of the letters, how capital letters are drawn, continuation of the signature, things like that.”

Security is Edward’s primary concern as mail-in voting continues to increase.

“We’ll do everything we can to protect our voters’ information.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), told WINK News the bill will provide meaningful access to signature matching, something not being done now. The bill was still being debated by the Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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