Senate’s elections reform bill passes Community Affairs committee

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Today, the Senate Community Affairs committee voted on SB 600, reporting the bill favorably as it continues through the legislative process.

Bill sponsor Senator Jack Latvala said, “The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. The Florida Senate is committed to protecting this absolute right and ensuring that every Floridian has an opportunity to participate in a fair electoral process.” 

The elections reform bill takes into account recommendations from the Secretary of State and Florida’s Supervisors of Elections, and puts in place a number of changes that give local administrators additional flexibility. This bill gives local Supervisors of Elections the discretion to begin early voting up to five days earlier, and includes the option to hold early voting on the Sunday before the election. Under the bill, Supervisors will have an expanded list of eligible early voting sites that includes stadiums and convention centers and the ability to add any one non-standard site as needed to accommodate voters. Each county is also required to provide at least as many early voting sites as were operated during the 2012 general election. This proposal further protects voters by requiring elections supervisors to notify voters who submit unsigned absentee ballots, giving voters an opportunity to rectify the issue. 

“Our goal with this bill is to increase access for voters while giving elections supervisors the tools necessary to run elections in an open and efficient manner,” said Senator Latvala. “These are the reforms we need to ensure the best voting experience possible.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.