TAMPA (WFLA) – Florida’s elections supervisors are sounding the alarm.
For the second time in just over a month, the Florida Supervisors of Elections sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis, imploring him to accept their recommendations and act immediately to avoid issues in the August primary and November general elections.
The letter outlines several recommendations, including:
- extending early voting to 22 days before Election Day
- allowing early voting through Election Day (typically there is no voting the day before the election)
- empowering county elections supervisors to add or consolidate polling places
Newly-elected president of the FSE, Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer, said these are the experts who know what is needed to keep Florida’s elections safe.
“The bottom line to this is, we’re not asking for anything the governor hasn’t already done,” Latimer said.
Last year, Governor DeSantis signed an executive order authorizing more early voting and other changes FSE requested to Bay and Gulf counties after they were ravaged by Hurricane Michael.
Latimer also said the state needs to be prepared for a huge increase in voters submitting mail ballots.
Based on what happened in the March presidential primary, they want to be prepared.
“We had less than half people show up to vote on election day and I had over 50% of people that voted, vote by mail,” Latimer said about Hillsborough County. “We normally have 1/3 vote-by-mail, 1/3 early voting, and 1/3 on election day.”
The letter also pointed out that Florida is lagging behind its peers.
Latimer said Florida is one of only three states that have not yet applied for the federal funds allocated to states in the CARES for voting changes caused by coronavirus.
To get the more than $20 million available to the state from Congress, Florida only has to put up $4 million.
Latimer also addressed the common trope that vote-by-mail is subject to lots of fraud.
“The cases are very few and far between,” Latimer said.
President Trump has called it “corrupt” and “rife with fraud,” despite voting by mail himself earlier this year.
State representative Fentrice Driskell (D-Hilllsborough) said it’s a talking point that has no evidence behind it.
“I remember asking on the House floor for evidence that this massive voting fraud exists, and no one could provide the evidence,” Driskell said. “I think it’s simply because it doesn’t exist.”
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