TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Sen. Rick Scott proposed a new bill this week that would, in part, require states to count and report all ballots in a federal election within 24 hours.
The Florida Republican introduced the Verifiable, Orderly and Timely Elections Results Act – or the VOTER Act – on Thursday. He says it would “establish uniform standards for vote-by-mail systems across the country and ensure the timely and efficient counting of ballots, with important safeguards to prevent fraud.”
Scott says he introduced the bill in part because of an expected increase of mail-in ballots in November due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Florida has absentee voting and it works well. But the standards for mail-in voting vary widely across the country, causing confusion and a distrust in the system,” Scott said in a statement. “We need standards nationwide to ensure voters decide the outcomes of elections – not the courts.”
The bill proposed by Scott would set national deadlines for requesting and sending mail-in ballots in federal elections. It would also implement fraud prevention measures, Scott says.
But the proposal that led to Sen. Scott trending on Twitter Thursday evening was the section of the bill aimed at “the timely reporting of election results.” The bill would require all eligible ballots in federal elections to be counted and reported within 24 hours after polls close on Election Day. The senator says that would “promote certainty in the outcome of a federal election.”
“We can’t wait weeks or months to find out the results of this election or any election in our future – a scenario made all the more likely by the Democrats’ push to change laws late in the game and eliminate standards that protect against fraud,” he said.
Voting precincts across the country would also be required to report the total number of in-person and mail-in ballots received within an hour of polls closing. Scott says it would “identify the total universe of votes to be counted in the election.”
Florida Democrats call Scott’s bill an “election year stunt.”
“The U.S. Constitution gives the states the right to determine when to count their ballots and set their deadlines for completing that count,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said in a statement to WFLA. “If Rick Scott was concerned about the integrity of voting in Florida, he wouldn’t have reduced the number of early voting days during his tenure as governor of the state.”
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