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Politics

Debate Over Vote By Mail Intensifies In Florida House

 “We need transparency, accountability and consistency,” Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill (left) says the bill to prevent social media censorship.
“We need transparency, accountability and consistency,” Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill (left) says the bill to prevent social media censorship.

Florida Republicans are continuing their drive to rewrite the state’s vote-by-mail system by adding new requirements that critics say could make it harder for some to cast their ballots.

The measure advanced Monday by the House Public Integrity and Elections Committee was immediately decried by Democrats and voting rights advocates.

They said adding new layers of inconvenience could make voting more troublesome and create burdens for elections officials.

“When we look at vote-by-mail ballots, there are almost no safeguards,” said Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, who’s sponsoring the legislation. “All we are asking for are some reasonable safeguards, to ensure the sanctity of the vote and that nobody’s vote is going to be disenfranchised.”

The House measure would require 24-hour monitoring of ballot drop boxes, require voters to provide identification to submit a ballot at a drop box, and increase scrutiny on signature matching.

Democrats, including Rep.Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, call the plan unneeded.

“We need to make sure we are looking out for the voters in this, and we are not spending taxpayer dollars unnecessarily and we are not putting hurdles to impede them from voting,” Davis said. “Right now, that is what this is.”

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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