Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Florida lawmakers close on changing voting laws in response to 2018

The bill eliminates a ballot design believed to have caused thousands of voters in Broward County to skip the U.S. Senate race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson.
Early voting in Miami. [MIAMI HERALD]
Published May 2
Updated May 2

The Florida House on Wednesday passed an election reform bill intended to prevent some of the problems that plagued the 2018 midterms and turned a statewide recount into a dramatic affair dogged by faulty equipment and sloppy mistakes.

The bill, crafted with the input of Florida’s election administrators, eliminates a ballot design believed to have caused thousands of voters in Broward County to skip the U.S. Senate race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson. And it ends the use of outdated vote-tabulation equipment that left Palm Beach County’s election office unable to complete its recount on time.

The bill seeks to explicitly lay out a “chain of custody” for ballots and standardize the handwriting training used to accept or toss mail ballots based on voter signatures, and it improves the process by which voters are informed when their ballots are rejected.

Lawmakers have no control over the voter-fraud conspiracy theories espoused by President Donald Trump that helped turn a recount of three statewide races into a circus. But they hope the proposed changes to Florida’s election laws will reduce the number of rejected ballots and prevent seemingly minor flaws from turning into major disasters.

“This election bill, which is backed by both Democrat and Republican supervisors of elections, expands voter access for millions of Floridians while protecting the integrity of the ballots,” said Spring Hill Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the committee that sponsored the legislation in the House. “This is much needed reform so we do not have a repeat of the 2018 election in future elections.”

The Florida Senate passed a version of the bill last week by a 39-1 vote, but the legislation will head back to the upper chamber after the House approved an amendment by state Rep. Ben Diamond requiring election offices to place mail ballot drop boxes at all early voting centers and staff them with an elections worker or police officer.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. President Donald Trump speaks at the Economic Club of New York at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    The explanation gets complicated.
  2. Jomari DeLeon, is pictured at at Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, Florida August 7, 2019. Jomari is three years into a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking. She sold 48 tablets of prescription tablets over two days to an undercover officer. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    Florida lawmakers agreed the state’s old drug sentencing laws went too far. But that means nothing to people serving time.
  3. Sen. Travis Hutson presents his Job Growth Grant Fund legislation to the Senate Education Committee on Nov. 12, 2019. The Florida Channel
    The original version would have targeted charter schools only.
  4. Florida Senator Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, was the sponsor of a law that was to go into effect Friday that would have created new requirements for abortion doctors that could have limited the number of clinics. But the U.S. Supreme Court threw out similar Texas restrictions, raising doubt about the fate of Florida's new law. [Scott Keeler | Times]
    The delay, which kicks a vote on the bill into mid-December, could stall what may be one of state lawmakers’ most contentious decisions on a political live wire going into a presidential election...
  5. A flag supporting President Donald Trump flutters near the University of Florida's Century Tower before an Oct. 10 appearance on campus by Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle. A controversy over the political nature of the event has led to calls for the impeachment of Student Body President Michael C. Murphy, who helped set it up. Courtesy of Chris Day
    A push to oust Student Body President Michael Murphy comes after an email surfaces, suggesting he worked with the Trump campaign to bring a political speech to campus.
  6. Morton Myers, 40, is an entrepreneur, a lifelong Clearwater resident and now a candidate for mayor who comes from a family of Scientologists. He says he is not a practicing Scientologist and is running to bring change and representation to all residents. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Morton Myers says he’s not an active member. But with family on Scientology’s staff, he says he’s uniquely positioned to find middle ground with the church.
  7. FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after meeting with President Donald Trump about about responses to school shootings. Bondi is preparing to defend Trump against accusations that he pressured a foreign government to aid his re-election campaign. And she’s stepping down from a lobbying where she represented foreign interests (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    “People are going to discover all over again what Pam Bondi’s made of,” says the consultant who engineered her foray into politics 10 years ago.
  8. President Donald Trump speaks at New York City's 100th annual Veterans Day parade, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) SETH WENIG  |  AP
    Trump will speak at the Hollywood summit on Saturday, Dec. 7 before traveling to Orlando for the Florida GOP’s Statesman’s Dinner, the Republican Party of Florida’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
  9. President Donald Trump speaks in front of a painting of former President George Washington in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington on Oct. 27. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Trump pointed to Washington as precedent for an active businessman serving as president.
  10. The Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway was built in Tampa as toll road. Commissioners are divided over an elevated toll road proposed for southern Pasco.
    After frustration about their oversight of three potential new toll roads, the department moved up their timeline for scrutinizing the projects.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement