“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!
#MAGA- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
August 4, 2020″
Ben Wilcox, research director of Integrity Florida, issued the following statement about Senate Bill 90.
“Integrity Florida published a research report in August of last year titled, “VBM: A Safe Option for Florida Voters – The Implications in a Battleground State.”
The report looked back to the 2018 election and examined what went wrong and what steps were taken since then to address those issues. The report found the most severe election problems in 2018 were confined to two Florida counties – Broward and Palm Beach. It also found that the Supervisors of Elections in both counties had taken steps to address the 2018 problems, adding millions of dollars in new voting equipment.
The report also looked ahead to the 2020 election and assessed whether Florida was prepared to conduct an election that would rely more on voting by mail than previous elections because of the COVID pandemic. The report found the Florida Legislature acted in the 2019 legislative session to address the problems identified in the 2018 election, including making modifications to the vote-by-mail process.
House Bill 7066 is known for the requirement that ex-felons pay all court-ordered fines and fees before they can register to vote, but the bill also contained significant reforms to the way elections are administered in Florida. For example:
- It allowed a voter to drop off his or her Vote by Mail ballot at a secure drop box located at each active early voting site and at the supervisor’s main or branch office.
- Vote-by-mail ballot envelopes now ask for an e-mail address and phone number so voters can be notified if there is a problem with their signature. They can then fix the problem and cast their ballot.
- It allowed canvassing of VBM ballots to start one week earlier, at 22 days before an election rather than 15 days before the election.
These changes were adopted by the legislature last year with the full support of the state’s supervisors of elections. They represent best practices used by other states that rely more heavily on vote-by-mail.
Finally, the report examined vote-by-mail itself to determine if it was a safe and secure method of voting. The report found Florida has a long history with vote-by-mail and the process has been modified and improved over the years, most recently in 2019. It also found mail balloting may be slightly more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting, but existing research shows voter fraud in general is “exceedingly rare.”
Overall, the report found Florida was well-positioned to conduct a safe, reliable 2020 General Election with a robust vote-by-mail program. Integrity Florida gave credit to the legislature and the state’s supervisors of elections for years of work to give Floridians three safe, reliable ways to vote: early voting, vote-by-mail and Election Day voting.
As it turned out, the Integrity Florida report got it right. While other states had 2020 election problems, Florida’s election was one of the smoothest and most secure in recent history, according to Governor Ron DeSantis.
It all leaves Integrity Florida to question why the need to modify or roll back provisions the legislature put in place that led to such a successful election? Senate Bill 90 contains some provisions that build on the work of previous legislatures, but to reverse course and roll back previously adopted reforms makes no sense.”
Integrity Florida is a nonpartisan research institute and government watchdog whose mission is to promote integrity in government and expose public corruption. More information at www.integrityflorida.org.