Differences and similarities in Florida’s dueling plans to change elections

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It is not unusual for similar bills to advance at the same time in both the Florida House and the Florida Senate. 

This year, two such bills are proposed to make sweeping changes to the way Florida conducts elections; both in person and through vote by mail.

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The bills (SB 90 / HB 7041), are both currently advancing in their respective chambers, setting the stage for Florida to make significant changes to an election system that, by all accounts, was nearly flawless last November.

While the Senate bill would add more time for county canvasing boards to count ballots before election day, it would also cut in half the time that a person’s request for a vote by mail ballot is valid. 

The bill would also restrict who can drop off a vote-by-mail ballot to just the voter or their immediate family, as well as banning the use of VBM drop boxes.

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In the House, request times and limits on who can return the ballot are largely the same.  However, the House does not call for the banning of drop boxes, instead, stating that boxes must be monitored at all times. 

The House would also require the use of a privacy sleeve on VBM ballots while also banning interactions with voters within 150-feet of the polling location.