SWFL elections supervisors weigh in on voter bill awaiting governor decision

Whether you wait in line, mail in your ballot or use a drop box, something will be different in the next election in Florida.

Thursday, just hours before legislative session ended, Florida Republican lawmakers pushed election reform through and are now waiting for the governor’s signature.

We looked at how SB 90: Election Administration will affect Florida voters moving forward, the soonest being 2022. How people vote will be different then, but drop boxes will remain.

“I’m just thrilled that we still have drop boxes. That was one of my biggest concerns,” said Jennifer Edward, the Collier County Supervisor of Elections.

There will be new rules for who can drop off a ballot, when and where.

For starters: Voters can only have possession of his or her ballot, an immediate family member’s and two more ballots.

“It may impact some of the elderly who are in a subdivision or have a lot of friends, and they have gone and give them their ballots to their friends, and some people come by and drop everybody’s ballots off,” said Tommy Doyle, the Lee County Supervisor of Elections.

Drop boxes can only be at a supervisor’s office or at early voting locations during early voting hours. The boxes can never be left unsupervised, which will eliminate 24/7 ballot drop-off boxes.

“I think it is a little more inconvenient for our voters,” Edwards said.

“To me probably not necessary, but they’re looking at the future, the next election, with all the trouble and all the perceptions of fraud,” Doyle said.

Supervisors in Southwest Florida say there was no fraud during the 2020 election.

“Let’s don’t wait until we have a debacle to make sure we have got this thing orderly, so that mishaps don’t occur,” State Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala).

“We believe it’s just a way to restrict voting from different angles,” said Patti Brigham, the president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

The measure also requires anyone who register for a mail-in ballot to provide additional identification such as a driver’s license, Florida-issued ID card or Social Security number.

Regular session ended Friday afternoon with a vote on a record $101.5 billion budget. It received near unanimous support, with only one nay in the Florida House.

Lawmakers return to Tallahassee May 17 for a special session on a proposed gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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