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Cruz, Janet

Janet Cruz files fix for vote-by-mail signature problem

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

As promised, House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz of Tampa filed legislation Thursday that would let voters fix mismatching signatures on their vote-by-mail ballots so they can be counted.

The bill (HB 105) would require supervisors of elections and their staff “to allow submission of an affidavit to cure signature discrepancies.”

The measure was in response to a federal case earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ordered the state to give thousands of voters a chance to make sure their vote-by-mail ballots count. The Florida Democratic Party challenged the state law governing mismatched signatures.

He said county election offices should notify voters if their signature on a vote-by-mail ballot and their voter registration forms don’t match.

Cruz, however, this week said a “permanent statutory fix” was needed “to ensure that all Floridians have the ability to remedy a mismatched or illegible signature.”

“As “the right to vote is a bedrock principle of our democratic society, it is vital that the people of Florida have every opportunity to ensure that their voice is being heard at the ballot box,” she said.

Otherwise, voters whose signatures don’t match aren’t told about the problem until after the election is over.

Background from The Associated Press, reprinted with permission

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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