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State Legislators Pushing Changes to Absentee Balloting

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19.Apr, 2019 Comments Off on State Legislators Pushing Changes to Absentee Balloting , , , , , , , Election Administration,Voter Registration News

State Legislators Pushing Changes to Absentee Balloting

Heading into the 2020 election, statehouses across the nation are increasing legislative activity promoting election “fixes”. Florida, Delaware, and Iowa are examples of states that have recently considered significant legislation changing the electoral processes.


Florida’s proposal, SB7088 and it’s counterpart, HB 7101, would “prohibit supervisors from mailing out ballots less than eight days before an election instead of four, and change the deadline voters could request a vote-by-mail ballot to 10 days before an election instead of six days prior…It also would provide formal signature match training to election supervisors and canvassing board members.”


Delaware’s proposal, which recently passed the Senate, doesn’t offer any protections for identity verification, and reduces the restrictions around absentee voting. Currently, an individual can only cast an absentee ballot if he or she has an illness or disability, will be out of the district on vacation, has religious restrictions that prevent him or her from voting or is serving abroad. The bill, which would amend the state Constitution, leaves the definition of amendments to a later date.


Iowa’s proposal which recently passed the Senate would allow auditors to use signature verification to confirm the authenticity of an absentee ballot and prohibit the mailing out of sample ballots. It also calls for the use of intelligent bar codes, now used in only a few counties to verify that an absentee ballot was mailed ahead of the deadline, but sunsets that provision after four years.


The glaring differences between these three states illustrate the different approaches of states heading into the 2020 election. While Iowa and Florida seek to strengthen the integrity of absentee balloting, the liberal-controlled legislature in Delaware is implementing ambiguous and undefined Constitutional changes to undermine the electoral process.


LDF recently published a study of mail and absentee ballot history and counting procedures.  It is vital that states protect the integrity of this increasingly popular method of voting.  

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