Gov. DeSantis’ election help likely too little, too late

Coronavirus

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – After requesting assistance for months, Governor Ron DeSantis has finally issued an executive order aimed at easing the burden on election supervisors headed into the Primary and General Elections.

Gov. DeSantis’ executive order offers state workers administrative leave to work the polls and encourages counties to do the same for their employees.

Their help is need to make up for an expected shortage of poll workers.

“That might help us some,” said Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley.

Earley, who also serves as Vice President of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, expects it may be tough for some counties to swing.

“I think everybody is in a big deficit situation right now,” said Earley.

The order also orders schools closed on election day to be used as polling places.

Andrew Spar, Vice President of the Florida Education Association worries bringing hundreds of voters into schools in the middle of a pandemic could be risky.

“Have voting in there until late in the evening and then reopen the next day? Does that give enough time for sanitizing and appropriate cleaning?” said Spar.

Last, the order allows supervisors to count mail ballots once they’ve tested their machines for accuracy, but Earley said due to time limitations in law, it really provides only two extra days.

“So you know, that doesn’t help a whole lot either,” said Earley.

Supervisors were hoping Gov. DeSantis would allow them to consolidate polling places, get two extra weeks to count mail ballots, and conduct early voting through election day now they say the Governor’s order is likely too little too late.

“There are some items in there that could potentially be helpful… But frankly I think there’s not a whole lot of meat on the bone,” said Earley.

Supervisors are hopeful they’ll be able to conduct the Primary Election without major issues, but they worry without additional executive action the November election will be a lot tougher.

Because supervisors expect an influx of vote by mail ballots, it’s more important than ever to request and return your ballot as soon as possible.

You can also return your ballot to your local supervisor of elections in person or vote in person if you requested a mail ballot but have not returned it.

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