DADE CITY, Fla. — Elections officials across the state are monitoring the progress of Florida Senate Bill 7066. It features a number of provisions aimed at fixing pre- and post-election processing issues identified in the 2018 General Election and the recounts that followed.
- Bill proposes moving primary election date to 11 weeks before general election
- Change also proposed to time allotted to certify election recounts
- Florida House will also consider own version of bill
- More Pasco County stories
Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley saw a common thread running through all the provisions of the bill.
“It’s to help the voter, quite honestly, all these things that I see in these provisions,” Corley said.
Corley said it’s not uncommon after an election cycle – particularly one as contentious and close as 2018’s – to see legislation aimed at working out bugs in the system. He said the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections has its eye on this bill, and a few provisions in particular.
One of those would move the primary election date from 10 weeks ahead of the general election to 11 weeks in advance.
“Which is important because after a primary, if we ever did have a recount in a primary, it’s almost impossible to get done. You have to remember we have a very short window from our primary to get our ballots out to our men and women in the military and overseas voters,” Corley said.
Other proposed changes include:
- Providing an extra week to certify general election recounts
- Extending the deadline to cure issues with vote-by-mail ballot signatures
- Creating a signature cure process for provisional ballots similar to the one already in place for vote-by-mail ballots
Corley said one of the most significant proposals establishes a process to use provisional and vote-by-mail ballot cure affidavits to update voter signatures.
“If there was an issue with the signature, we notify the voter, and even though we have an affidavit where they’re able to cure their vote-by-mail issue, we’re not able to use that updated signature to update the voter’s record,” Corley said. “So, they would have to complete a new voter registration application."
"If they didn’t do that, sometimes you’d have the same problem the next cycle," he went on. "So with this, the biggest provision is allowing us, the signature on the cure affidavit, to make that their signature of record.”
The Senate bill is just the first step. The state House is expected to consider its own version of the bill.
“So, we’ll see what the House comes out with and, hopefully, it’ll be equally as voter-friendly,” Corley said.
If approved, the Senate bill would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.