May 3, 2019

Florida’s 2018 General Election was quite remarkable: three simultaneous, statewide election recounts with very close margins, two of those requiring a manual recount.  Florida had never before  experienced one statewide recount.  This coupled with the fact that many counties were also conducting legislative and local recounts.  By most objective measures, however, Florida’s post-2000 recount reforms performed admirably.

With this backdrop, the Florida House is set to pass significant election legislation with  CS/SB 7066.  The bill does the following, among other things:

  • Primary Election Day: Moves the primary election back from 10 to 11 weeks before the general election, to allow more time for overseas general election ballots.
  • Voting Systems/Sorting and Counting Ballots: Prohibits voting systems that cannot simultaneously count and sort ballot overvotes and undervotes in multiple races. (In 2018, Palm Beach County’s voting system could not do this).
  • Vote-by-Mail (VBM) Ballots/Deadlines and Cure: Extends the cure deadline for defective VBM ballot signatures from 5 p.m. on the day before the election to 5 p.m. on the 2nd day after the election.
  • Provisional Ballots/Deadlines and Cure: Creates a provisional ballot signature cure process that mirrors the revised VBM signature cure process; provides for cure through 5 p.m. on the 2nd day after an election.
  • Polls/No-Solicitation Zone: Expands the no-solicitation zone around polling places/rooms and early voting sites from 100 feet to 150 feet.

The bill will take effect July 1, 2019.