Coronavirus backburners Florida Elections Commission

Voter receiving ballot in mail
With uncertainty around elections, oversight is in limbo.

Coronavirus has redefined normalcy in all sectors, and oversight of campaign finance law this year is the latest.

The Florida Elections Commission decided on just two in-person meetings, in August and in November, for the rest of the year.

A telephonic conference, if needed, was also agreed upon during the call Tuesday dealing with potential effects of COVID-19 on elections.

The consensus was that the commission was contingent on what the state at large does.

“At this point, our information is very limited. We don’t know what to expect when the stay at home order expires,” said Executive Director Tim Vaccaro, making scheduling the commission’s next in-person meeting “challenging.”

Cases could be split up over a two-day meeting, Vaccaro said, noting that Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ stay-at-home order was still in effect.

Patricia Hollarn noted that “cases could pile up” given this is an election year, suggesting that even the unique optics and bathos of the current era won’t change campaign finance.

“Trying to make a meeting in May or June just isn’t practical,” Hollarn said.

Vaccaro noted that “consent orders and other things” could be moved by telephone conference, clearing the docket to some degree.

Commissioner Jason Todd Allen advocated “seeing what shakes out the next few weeks and act accordingly.” John Martin Hayes agreed.

The next in-person meeting as of now is slated for August 18 and 19. A November 17 and 18 meeting would follow, with a teleconference if needed.

A formal motion memorialized the committee’s will.

Coronavirus has upended much of the political discussion this election year.

Elections supervisors expressed concerns about polling places in March, with Democrats pushing for a universal vote-by-mail election.

Candidates have been allowed to submit qualifying petitions electronically as well.

Now, the issues that affect the players on the field will extend to the oversight thereof.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


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