Q&A of the Day – Are Governor DeSantis’s Election Reform Proposals a good idea? Part 1
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: You’ve done a lot of work on voting systems and election integrity. What do you think about Gov. DeSantis’s proposals?
Bottom Line: We’ve talked a lot about how Florida went from the laughing stock of elections to, as Governor DeSantis put it, “the gold standard”, last November. Fact of the matter though is that Florida’s improvement was mostly a case of removing the incompetent and potentially corrupt election supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach County. There’s still a lot of room for improvement in our election systems as is evidenced by Harvard’s Election Integrity Project. According to the Election Integrity Project, Florida’s overall rating is a 75 out of 100. Clearly there’s room for improvement. And frankly Florida only showed so well because of how poor the US ranks in integrity generally. As a reminder, Harvard’s project found the US has the second worst election integrity of any country holding democratic elections. With that being the case, it’s good to see Governor DeSantis views this as a priority – despite the relative success of our elections last year. So, what about his proposals? There's a lot to it. He broke out ten proposed reforms into three categories. Ballot integrity, transparency and reporting.
- Address the use of ballot drop boxes (by having a state standard).
- Address ballot harvesting so that no person may possess ballots other than their own and their immediate family.
- No mass mailing of vote-by-mail ballots—only voters who request a ballot should receive a ballot.
- Vote-by-mail requests must be made each election year.
- Vote by mail ballot signatures must match the most recent signature on file.
Transparency in the Elections Process
- Political parties and candidates cannot be shut out from observing the signature matching process.
- Supervisors of Elections must post over-vote ballots to be considered by the canvassing board on their website before the canvassing board meets.
- Prohibits counties from receiving grants from private third-party organizations for “get out the vote” initiatives.
Transparency in Elections Reporting
- Requires real-time reporting of voter turnout data at the precinct level.
- Supervisors of Elections must report how many ballots have been requested, how many have been received, and how many are left to be counted.
So how do those line up with the recommendations by the Harvard Election Integrity Project? We’ll take a look in the second part of today’s Q&A.
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