Vote-by-mail list largely starting from scratch this year with new law
Rough patch: Florida is considering adding more speed bumps in the vote-by-mail process.

Closeup of a mail ballot envelope
It's an outcome of an election law the Legislature passed in 2021.

Broward County got a start Friday on an issue facing every one of the state’s Supervisors of Elections: Reassembling its vote-by-mail address book.

The Broward County Supervisor of Elections sent out a news release reminding voters that unless they requested a ballot on or after the last Election Day, Nov. 8, they must renew their vote-by-mail requests to vote that way in the next election or appear in person to vote. In some Broward County cities, municipal elections are coming in March.

More than 80% of Broward County’s 1.3 million voters are registered to vote by mail, as are 4.3 million voters throughout the state. Statewide, estimates are that one-third of the state’s electorate casts their vote through the mail.

Presumably, most of these voters have not renewed since Nov. 7. But that percentage that must renew if they are going to vote by mail again this year was not available Friday, from either state or county officials.

It’s part of the new requirement mandated in Senate Bill 90 passed in the 2021 Session. Previously, one could be registered to vote by mail for two election cycles. With the new law, all vote-by-mail requests made before Nov. 8 expired on New Year’s Eve.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the new requirement “an unnecessary administrative hurdle.” But those concerned with voter fraud say these ballots arrive at residences long after the intended voter has left. And absentee voter fraud emerged as a particular concern in the 2020 Election as the presidential election tally switched winners as mail-in ballots were opened.

Democratic Sen. Rosalind Osgood, who stands for central Broward County in Tallahassee, is concerned that not enough outreach has been done to let mail-in voters know their status — or make them aware of what new processes must be followed. It could very well lead to fewer voting, she said.

“Whether you’re Democrat, Republican or NPA, if you don’t know what’s required, it could be an impediment to voting,” she said.

The new law also requires voters who want to cast a ballot remotely must fill out a new form that asks for either their Florida driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

“There’s not been enough education about this,” Osgood said, noting that even though people present their driver’s license for in-person voting, writing it down on a form might not sit well with voters.

“If I’m 70 and older, I have to make a major mental adjustment for this,” she said. “Because of my age, I’m being targeted by criminals committing crime … There’s a lot of identity theft” using this kind of information.

Some counties are planning on outreach to absentee voters even if the county doesn’t have a municipal election this year. Leon County, for example, is planning on targeted emails, physical mailers and news releases to rebuild its vote-by-mail address list, according to Alex Mosca, spokesperson for the Leon County Supervisor of Elections.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Elliott Offen

    January 6, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Ballot boxes were stuffed for Donald J Trump in Florida and he still lost! The Capitol was invaded by Trump terrorists in 2020 and he still lost! Frivolous litigation was filed in 2020 on behalf of Trump and he still lost! If he runs again in 2024, he will still lose!

  • Boaz

    January 6, 2023 at 9:06 pm

    My wife and I like to vote by mail. When we resided in New Jersey more than a decade ago, it was like pulling teeth to get an absentee ballot. We recently signed up again for vote by mail. It was very easy. It took us less than a minute to do so.

Comments are closed.


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