May 6, 2021
Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 90, Florida’s new election integrity bill, strengthening voter identification, prohibiting the mass mailing of ballots, banning ballot harvesting and prohibiting private money from administering elections in our state.
“Florida took action this legislative session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity. Elections should be free and fair, and these changes will ensure this continues to be the case in the Sunshine State. I’d like to thank our legislative leaders on this issue – Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Senator Dennis Baxley, and Representative Blaise Ingoglia.”
“Florida leads the nation in election reforms because the Florida Legislature and Governor have taken a proactive approach to review and address any election issues,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “Safeguarding and maintaining the integrity of our elections is important to all of us. We all lose when people have no confidence in the integrity of an election. That’s what we want to avoid. We don’t want to backslide. Florida was a model for the nation in November, and that is something we can all take pride in. With this legislation, we are codifying provisions of the Governor’s executive order that were largely credited as a reason Florida’s 2020 general election went so smoothly, and why results were available much quicker in Florida than in many other states. I appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this important issue.”
“Floridians have more options to cast their ballot than ever before. With that variety must come assurance of security, accountability, and transparency,” said House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “The bill Governor DeSantis signed today will protect our election procedures and provide voters with confidence that our elections will remain accessible, efficient, and secure. The right to vote should never be taken for granted, and we must always strive to improve the processes that establish the foundation of our democracy.”
“Florida’s leaders have answered the call to ensure that our elections process remains secure and credible,” said Senator Dennis Baxley. When it comes to the integrity of our free and fair elections, our state did not wait until something went wrong. Instead we were proactive in our responsibility to ensure that Florida voters are confident that their vote is being counted. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for your leadership and for helping us make Florida a place where it is easy to vote and very hard to cheat.”
“This legislative session, we set out to improve and strengthen the integrity of elections,” said Representative Blaise Ingoglia. “We set out to ensure safe, secure and trusted measures for voting, and we prevailed. I thank Governor DeSantis for his vote of confidence to carry such landmark legislation that will restore confidence in the most sacred right we have as Americans.”
Senate Bill 90 strengthens existing voter ID laws, bans ballot harvesting, prohibits unsolicited mass mailing of ballots, increases election transparency, and prohibits private money from administering elections. While Florida already requires identification to vote, Senate Bill 90 will require additional identification information when changing any voter registration information, or requesting a vote by mail ballot, preventing fraud and securing the voter rolls.
The proposal strikes a reasonable balance for families and those in elder care facilities while simultaneously banning ballot harvesting by political operatives. Under this law, a person may not handle more than two ballots other than those of immediate family members. There is an exemption for ballots collected during supervised voting at assisted living facilities and nursing homes to make sure no undue burden is caused for Florida’s most vulnerable.
The proposal bans the mass mailing of ballots, ensuring that vote-by-mail ballots are only sent to the individuals that requested them, and only if requested for each election cycle they intend to vote by mail. The bill also increases election transparency, allowing each political party and candidate guaranteed access to observe signature matching reviews by the canvassing board, and allows for appointed watchers on their behalf.
The bill bolsters reporting, requiring that every county have access to live voter turnout data, updated hourly by Supervisors of Elections (SOEs). SOEs will also be required to post, beginning at 7 p.m. on Election Day, the number of vote-by-mail ballots that have been received and the number of vote-by-mail ballots that remain uncounted. This reporting will be updated at least every hour.
Finally, the bill will prohibit private money from administering elections by prohibiting our Election Supervisors from accepting donations or grants to fund any aspect of election administration or operations.
The full text can be found here.