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

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

Written By

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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