The governor of Florida’s chief elections official has issued an order to all 67 elections supervisors. The order imposes new restrictions on how and where voters can return completed absentee ballots.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner said people who vote by mail should return ballots to elections offices only, calling for an end to remote dropoff sites used as a convenience for voters. He said his directive is necessary to maintain uniformity in how election laws are carried out.
“Supervisors should not solicit return of absentee ballots at any place other than a supervisor’s office, except for the purpose of having the absentee ballot canceled if the voter wants to vote in person,” Detzner wrote.
Some county officials said the change could suppress voter turnout and questioned the state’s power to issue such directives on local elected officials.
Opponents of the change argue that it does not promote ballot accessibility and reduces opportunities for voters to return their ballots. Supervisors also claim that higher level officials did not consult them about the practices of absentee voters, and how the change could possibly affect the process.
More than 105,000 voters in Pinellas County returned their ballots to dropoff sites in the 2012 presidential election, which accounts for 42% of the county’s absentee ballot total.
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