The Florida Legislature passed a sweeping election bill Thursday night that would make significant changes to mail voting in the state after a record number of Floridians voted by mail in the 2020 election.
Governor Ron DeSantis said on Fox News Thursday night that he plans to sign the bill. If he does, Florida would become the latest state to overhaul its election system in the wake of the 2020 election. Republican lawmakers around the country have proposed significant changes to the way elections are conducted and some have already been signed into law, including Georgia, Iowa and Montana.
The bill would add ID requirements for voters requesting to vote by mail. Voters would have to provide either their driver's license or state ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security Number when asking for a mail ballot. The bill would also require this information to register to vote or to update a voter's registration.
The bill would also make voters request mail ballots more frequently. Florida has allowed mail ballot requests to last for two general election cycles, but the new bill would require voters to request a mail ballot every general election cycle.
Drop boxes are one of the bill's main targets. Under the bill, they could be placed at election supervisors' offices, permanent supervisor branch offices and early voting sites. This is a slight change from current law It would require them to be at permanent branch locations rather than any branch office. Drop boxes would have to be distributed to give voters in a county equal access.
The measure also places limits on the hours some drop boxes can be accessed. Drop boxes at early voting sites could only be accessed during early voting hours, but at supervisors' offices they would be accessible at any hour. The drop boxes would have to be staffed by an employee from the election supervisor's office, which is a change from the current law allowing law enforcement officers to supervise and only requires it during early voting hours. Under the measure, supervisors who don't follow the rules related to drop boxes would have to pay a $25,000 fine.