DeSantis proposes election integrity measures: Ban universal mail-in voting; ban ballot harvesting

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday announced a series of new proposals to strengthen election integrity in Florida, touting the state’s previous successes and committing to transparency and security in elections moving forward.

Speaking at a press conference in West Palm Beach with state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, DeSantis criticized ballot drop boxes, universal mail-in voting, and the practice of ballot harvesting, proposing new laws to ban or reform those election practices.

“Florida had the most transparent and efficient election anywhere in the country,” DeSantis said of Florida’s performance in the 2020 election. “Other states took days, weeks, and even months to count their votes. And yet Florida, by midnight on election night, we had 99% reporting and 11 million votes counted, tabulated, and put out to the public.

“It can be done and don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.”

“Last November, Florida held the smoothest, most successful election of any state in the country,” DeSantis said in a statement announcing his proposals. “While we should celebrate this feat, we should not rest on our laurels. Today, we are taking action to ensure that Florida remains a leader on key issues regarding our electoral process, such as ballot integrity, public access to election information, transparency of election reporting and more. By strengthening these election integrity protections, we will ensure that our elections remain secure and transparent, and that Florida’s electoral process remains a blueprint for other states to follow.”

Here are DeSantis’ proposals as summarized by his press office:

Ballot Integrity

  • Address the use of ballot drop boxes.
  • Address ballot harvesting so that no person may possess ballots other than their own and their immediate family’s.
  • No mass mailing of vote-by-mail ballots—only voters who request a ballot should receive a ballot.
  • Vote-by-mail requests must be made each election year.
  • Vote-by-mail ballot signatures must match the most recent signature on file.

Transparency in the Elections Process

  • Political parties and candidates cannot be shut out from observing the signature matching process.
  • Supervisors of Elections must post over-vote ballots to be considered by the canvassing board on their website before the canvassing board meets.
  • Prohibits counties from receiving grants from private third-party organizations for “get out the vote” initiatives.

Transparency in Elections Reporting

  • Requires real-time reporting of voter turnout data at the precinct level.
  • Supervisors of Elections must report how many ballots have been requested, how many have been received, and how many are left to be counted.