TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As GOP state lawmakers move forward with sweeping election changes in Florida, elections supervisors – even those who are also Republicans – are alarmed. One tells 8 On Your Side the proposed bill puts your personal information at risk and makes it harder to vote.
Florida had a smooth election in 2020. Still, GOP lawmakers say they want to make a good thing even better. Their proposed bill, which a Florida House panel approved Monday, changes our state’s voter registration process, vote-by-mail system, monitoring requirements for drop boxes and more.
Proponents say they want to increase the integrity of our elections, not limit voting.
Opponents to the bill include Republican Julie Marcus, the supervisor of elections in one of the Tampa Bay area’s most populous counties – Pinellas.
“I would be greatly concerned if this bill passes as written,” Marcus said. “Once a voter has decided and has cast their ballot, there is no room for partisan politics.”
Marcus says the changes would let partisan actors challenge votes and endlessly delay election results.
Just as troublesome, she says, she would have to put your signature on the internet.
If you’re a Florida voter right now, the public already has access to your name, addresses, email, phone number and date of birth.
“When you take a compilation of voter information and you make it readily available to folks, not only are you putting the voter’s identity at risk but you’re also putting the election at risk,” Marcus explained.
Dr. Thomas Hyslip, a cybersecurity expert at the University of South Florida, says, “the threat is ever increasing.” 8 On Your Side asked him what, specifically, cyber criminals can do with our signatures.
“Well our signatures historically have been used for verification on many financial documents, contracts,” Hyslip said. “If the criminals are able to obtain a copy of your signature, they can use that to commit identity theft, falsify contracts, do credit card fraud in-person.”
Most of Pinellas County votes by mail. Marcus says that would likely change because this bill adds a lot of hurdles.
We have reached out to the bill’s sponsor to request an interview.