Florida voting law headed to DeSantis’ desk makes vote-by-mail harder, Hillsborough elections supervisor says

Hillsborough County

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A new voting law that’s headed to the Florida governor’s desk will make it harder to vote by mail, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said in a statement on Friday.

The law, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, changes voting rules across the state:

  • New voter ID and signature requirements
  • Limit persons who can return completed ballots
  • Tighten rules on ballot drop boxes
  • Limit food, water and item distribution by election workers to 150 feet of polls or drop boxes

The bill passed the Senate 23-17 and the House 77-40 and saw strong support from Gov. DeSantis during the session.

Latimer, who is also the President of the Florida Supervisors of Elections, says that the proposal heading to the governor’s desk is not the most disenfranchising version seen during the current legislative session.

“Fortunately, proposals that would have been the most disenfranchising, such as cancelling vote-by-mail requests that voters currently have on file, were dropped from the final version of the bill,” Latimer said in the statement.

Still, Latimer believes the legislation will make voting by mail more difficult. He says that, instead, the state should look at ways to make drop boxes more secure, such as adding camera surveillance to 24-hour drop boxes. Latimer says the new law does the opposite, prohibiting it.

The statement references the security and accessibility of voting during the 2020 election, where 11 million voters were able to participate. Latimer also notes that DeSantis had praised the progress of the election and how Florida had “finally vanquished the ghosts of Bush vs. Gore.”

Going forward, Latimer says he wants to continue earning the trust of the community and preserving the “most precious right to participate” in elections.

“As Supervisors of Elections, we are unwavering in our commitment to keeping our elections both secure and accessible,” he said. “My colleagues and I will continue to work every day to increase voter participation and maintain the integrity of our elections, following any new requirements established by our lawmakers.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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