DeSantis calling for election reform, security

Published: November 3, 2021 8:38 PM EDT
Updated: November 4, 2021 6:29 AM EDT

Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling for election reforms in the Sunshine State, including banning ballot harvesting, requiring voter-ID and ending unsolicited mass ballot mailing, though many requested protections are already in place.

“It has to be in places where they can be observed the whole time it’s open. You have video and somebody in person. And then as soon as the day is over, 7 o’clock, it’s got to be taken off. You can’t just leave it there overnight,” said DeSantis.

But Tommy Doyle, the supervisor of election in Lee County, said some of what DeSantis is calling for is already in place. “We always had people at our drop-boxes, monitoring our drop-boxes. In fact, in this new bill, if a drop-box is not monitored by staff or election worker, I could be fined $25,000 personally.”

The governor also said when people report election-related crimes, like ballot harvesting or fraud, the local elections offices don’t investigate.

Trish Robertson, the public relations officer and supervisor of elections for Collier County said that is not quite the truth. “When it comes to ballot harvesting, we have not experienced it in Collier County. If anyone were to suspect election fraud or ballot harvesting, we do provide them with the appropriate agency to call, which would be the Department of State.”

The governor said some offices don’t address the incidents until after the election.

“It’s true that we don’t find out until after the election. For instance, we don’t know that somebody’s possibly voted in two states until after the election,” said Doyle.

Florida is joining the Election Registration Information Center, or ERIC, and says it will help make sure people aren’t voting in multiple states and will help clear the voter rolls.

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Doyle said, “we’ve got to have the people and have them gain their confidence in our system because right now it’s an attack on our system around the country. And the only way for this process to work is for voters to have complete confidence that we as election officials are doing a good job.”

Governor DeSantis said he wants to create a state-level office dedicated solely to investigating election-related crimes.

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Doyle said he thinks it could be helpful to investigate cases they report to the state.

The Collier County supervisor of elections office said if it’s something that would bring comfort to voters, they would support it.