ORLANDO, Fla — Today the League of Women Voters of Florida is announcing support of a request sent to Governor Ron DeSantis by the Florida Supervisor of Elections Association to modify existing statutory provisions to aid in carrying out an election during the current health crisis. The League works closely with Supervisors of Elections each election cycle and pledges to continue to do so to assure all Floridians that they can vote and that their votes will be counted no matter what the contingencies are in light of COVID-19.
Recent election emergencies in Florida have largely been caused by catastrophic weather events. Unlike a hurricane, a pandemic does not have a discrete and relatively predictable endpoint, and avoiding large-scale social contact is a central feature of combating the crisis. These elements create distinct challenges for Florida’s Supervisors of Elections on top of the significant and ongoing threats to the security of our election infrastructure.
“We are greatly concerned that Supervisors might not have the answers they need in time to plan accordingly for the upcoming August primary,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “Changes that must be authorized by the Governor should come sooner rather than later so that all 67 Supervisors and those who aid their efforts can begin to restructure their approaches to holding elections that are inclusive to all.”
The League is especially supportive of modifications that ease pressure on Supervisors when it comes to vote-by-mail ballots. At the same time the Supervisors made their request, the League was beginning a campaign push for voters to immediately request vote-by-mail ballots. Requesting the mail ballots now will give Supervisors time to accommodate the increased demand that stems from mandatory social distancing. If the virus is still having effects on our state in August (and November), vote-by-mail ballots will ensure that voters will be able to vote from the safety of their homes and not be forced to risk virus contagion as exemplified this week in Wisconsin.
While there may be a need for additional changes, we encourage Governor DeSantis to provide certainty to Florida’s 67 Supervisor of Elections on their immediate requests. Such action will undoubtedly help prepare Florida for efficient and safe elections.
A copy of the original request sent to the Governor from the Florida Supervisor of Elections Association can be found by clicking here.