Supervisors Of Elections Take Important First Step To Protect Voters from Coronavirus, But More Should Be Done

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On April 7, Tammy Jones, president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections and the supervisor of elections for Levy County, sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis that urged him to take executive action to give county supervisors of elections greater flexibility to manage the August primary and the November general elections. 

While FDP commends many of the recommendations Jones gave to the governor, including calls to make it easier for supervisors to expand vote by mail and early voting, the party was also concerned about Jones’ suggestions to no longer require a polling location in every precinct. 

Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, commended many of Jones’s recommendations and agreed that DeSantis needs to act now, but cautioned that limiting polling locations could disenfranchise voters in large cities:

“Florida Democrats have long advocated for the expansion of vote-by-mail and early voting, and we applaud Florida’s supervisors of elections’ calls to expand opportunities to vote safely. It’s the right thing to do to protect lives, and it’s a good first step, but unprecedented times call for great measures to protect our democracy. We still believe that statewide vote-by-mail is achievable, and the best way to ensure the principles of our democracy are upheld. We encourage the Governor to call for statewide vote-by-mail today.”

In addition to the supervisors of elections’ requests and a statewide vote-by-mail program, FDP asks that the supervisors of elections and Governor Ron DeSantis also include the following protections to voters and our democratic elections: 

  • The state should waive or pay for each voter’s return postage on all mail-in ballots. 
  • Allow returned mail-in ballots to be postmarked by Election Day.
  • Allow correctly postmarked, returned mail-in ballots to be counted if received by 5 p.m. six days after an election — while overseas and military ballots are still being received and counted
  • If statewide vote-by-mail is not possible, the state should send a vote-by-mail enrollment form to every registered voter in the state — with return postage pre-paid
  • If voting centers are established, the state must set standards for fair and equitable demographic, geographic and population distribution of the centers — so that voters are not forced to wait in long lines as they did during recent primaries in Wisconsin and Texas.

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Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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