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Bill Summary Details

Election Administration (Watch)

CS/CS/CS/SB 90 (Baxley) revises multiple provisions of the Florida Elections Code relating to voter registration, third-party voter registration, county commission terms, ballots, voting systems, vote-by-mail ballots, canvassing boards, voter signatures and secure drop boxes. It provides that in any civil action in which a state or county agency or officer is a party, the action may not be settled if the settlement conflicts with any provision of the Florida Election Code unless notification is given to the Legislature and the Attorney General of the commencement of settlement negotiations, a proposed settlement is reported to the legislature and the Attorney General, and notice is given to the Legislature and the Attorney General at least 10 days before the settlement becomes final. The bill prohibits the use of private funds for election-related expenses, voter education, voter outreach or registration programs. The donation and acceptance of space to be used as a polling room or an early voting site are exempted from this prohibition. The bill requires supervisors of elections to make live voter turnout data available on their websites on Election Day. It eliminates current law provisions addressing elective charter county or municipal office vacancies created by resignation and provides such offices shall be deemed vacant upon the effective date of the resignation submitted by the official in his or her letter of resignation. For persons seeking to qualify for office as a candidate of any political party, the bill requires such person to state in writing that he or she has been a member of that political party for 365 days before the beginning of qualification. If a person is seeking to qualify as a candidate with no party affiliation, the bill requires the person to state in writing that he or she has not been a member of any political party for 365 days before the beginning of the qualifying period. The bill expands the current no-solicitation zone from 100 to 150 feet and includes drop box locations as areas subject to the no-solicitation zone. It modifies the current law definition of solicitation to include engaging in any activity with the intent to influence or having the effect of influencing a voter, and it clarifies the term may not be construed to prohibit an employee of, or a volunteer with, the supervisor from providing nonpartisan assistance to voters within the no-solicitation zone. The bill modifies current law provisions relating to the canvassing of returns and the public inspection of ballots. It amends vote-by-mail procedures and provides that a vote-by-mail request covers only a one-year period. An existing vote-by-mail request submitted before July 1, 2021, is effective for elections held through the end of the 2022 calendar year. In addition, except as authorized for voters having a disability, overseas voters or local referenda, the bill prohibits a county, municipality or state agency from sending a vote-by-mail ballot to a voter unless the voter has requested a ballot. The bill amends provisions relating to the use of drop boxes for vote-by-mail ballots. It clarifies that drop boxes may be placed at the main Supervisor of Elections office, each permanent branch of such office and at each early voting site. It requires that drop boxes be located to provide all voters in the county with an equal opportunity to cast a ballot. Drop boxes located at early voting sites may be used only during early voting hours and must be monitored in-person by an employee of the Supervisor of Elections. It provides that drop boxes at early voting locations may be used only during early voting hours and must be monitored in person. (O'Hara)