Florida Senate - 2021                        CS for CS for SB 90
       By the Committees on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Ethics and Elections; and Senator Baxley
       585-02681-21                                            202190c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to election administration; amending
    3         s. 101.62, F.S.; limiting the duration of requests for
    4         vote-by-mail ballots to all elections through the end
    5         of the calendar year of the next regularly scheduled
    6         general election; requiring vote-by-mail ballot
    7         requests to include additional identifying information
    8         regarding the requesting elector; prohibiting the
    9         supervisor from mailing, delivering, or otherwise
   10         providing vote-by-mail ballots to an elector, or a
   11         designee thereof, unless a request has been made for
   12         such ballot; requiring supervisors of elections to
   13         record whether a voter’s certificate on a vote-by-mail
   14         ballot has a mismatched signature; restricting who an
   15         elector may designate to pick up a vote-by-mail ballot
   16         to conform to changes made by the act; amending s.
   17         101.64, F.S.; prohibiting the display of an absent
   18         elector’s party affiliation or other partisan
   19         information on the outside of vote-by-mail ballots and
   20         return and secrecy envelopes; amending s. 101.65,
   21         F.S.; revising instructions to absent electors to
   22         conform to changes made by the act; amending s.
   23         101.68, F.S.; authorizing the canvassing of vote-by
   24         mail ballots upon the completion of the public
   25         preelection testing of automatic tabulating equipment;
   26         requiring the canvassing board to use the most recent
   27         signature of an elector when verifying a signature on
   28         a vote-by-mail ballot or a cure affidavit; amending s.
   29         101.69, F.S.; prohibiting the use of drop boxes for
   30         the return of vote-by-mail ballots; amending s.
   31         104.0616, F.S.; prohibiting any person from
   32         distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting,
   33         delivering, or otherwise physically possessing a vote
   34         by-mail ballot of another person, not including a
   35         ballot belonging to an immediate family member;
   36         providing an exception; providing a penalty; providing
   37         for construction and applicability; providing an
   38         effective date.
   40  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   42         Section 1. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1),
   43  subsection (3), and paragraph (c) of subsection (4) of section
   44  101.62, Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph (d) is
   45  added to subsection (1) of that section, to read:
   46         101.62 Request for vote-by-mail ballots.—
   47         (1)(a) The supervisor shall accept a request for a vote-by
   48  mail ballot from an elector in person or in writing. One request
   49  is shall be deemed sufficient to receive a vote-by-mail ballot
   50  for all elections through the end of the calendar year of the
   51  next second ensuing regularly scheduled general election, unless
   52  the elector or the elector’s designee indicates at the time the
   53  request is made the elections for which the elector desires to
   54  receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Such request may be considered
   55  canceled when any first-class mail sent by the supervisor to the
   56  elector is returned as undeliverable.
   57         (b) The supervisor may accept a written or telephonic
   58  request for a vote-by-mail ballot to be mailed to an elector’s
   59  address on file in the Florida Voter Registration System from
   60  the elector, or, if directly instructed by the elector, a member
   61  of the elector’s immediate family, or the elector’s legal
   62  guardian.; If the ballot is requested to be mailed to an address
   63  other than the elector’s address on file in the Florida Voter
   64  Registration System, the request must be made in writing and
   65  signed by the elector. However, an absent uniformed service
   66  voter or an overseas voter seeking a vote-by-mail ballot is not
   67  required to submit a signed, written request for a vote-by-mail
   68  ballot that is being mailed to an address other than the
   69  elector’s address on file in the Florida Voter Registration
   70  System. For purposes of this section, the term “immediate
   71  family” has the same meaning as specified in paragraph (4)(c).
   72  The person making the request must disclose:
   73         1. The name of the elector for whom the ballot is
   74  requested.
   75         2. The elector’s address.
   76         3. The elector’s date of birth.
   77         4. The elector’s Florida driver license number or Florida
   78  identification card number or the last four digits of the
   79  elector’s social security number.
   80         5. The requester’s name.
   81         6.5. The requester’s address.
   82         7.6. The requester’s driver license number, if available.
   83         8.7. The requester’s relationship to the elector.
   84         9.8. The requester’s signature (written requests only).
   85         (d) A supervisor may not mail or otherwise deliver or
   86  provide a vote-by-mail ballot to an elector or an elector’s
   87  designee unless a request for such ballot has been made that
   88  meets the requirements of this section.
   89         (3)(a) For each request for a vote-by-mail ballot received,
   90  the supervisor shall record the date the request was made;, the
   91  date the vote-by-mail ballot was delivered to the voter or the
   92  voter’s designee or the date the vote-by-mail ballot was
   93  delivered to the post office or other carrier;, the date the
   94  ballot was received by the supervisor;, the absence of the
   95  voter’s signature on the voter’s certificate, if applicable;,
   96  and such other information he or she may deem necessary. This
   97  information shall be provided in electronic format as provided
   98  by rule adopted by the division. The information shall be
   99  updated and made available no later than 8 a.m. of each day,
  100  including weekends, beginning 60 days before the primary until
  101  15 days after the general election and shall be
  102  contemporaneously provided to the division. This information
  103  shall be confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and shall be
  104  made available to or reproduced only for the voter requesting
  105  the ballot, a canvassing board, an election official, a
  106  political party or official thereof, a candidate who has filed
  107  qualification papers and is opposed in an upcoming election, and
  108  registered political committees for political purposes only.
  109         (b) For each returned vote-by-mail ballot, the supervisor
  110  shall record whether the voter’s certificate contains a
  111  signature that does not match the elector’s signature in the
  112  registration books or precinct register.
  113         (c) The information specified in paragraphs (a) and (b)
  114  shall be provided in electronic format as prescribed by division
  115  rule. The information shall be updated and made available no
  116  later than 8 a.m. of each day, including weekends, beginning 60
  117  days before the primary election until 15 days after the general
  118  election and shall be contemporaneously provided to the
  119  division.
  120         (4)
  121         (c) The supervisor shall provide a vote-by-mail ballot to
  122  each elector by whom a request for that ballot has been made by
  123  one of the following means:
  124         1. By nonforwardable, return-if-undeliverable mail to the
  125  elector’s current mailing address on file with the supervisor or
  126  any other address the elector specifies in the request.
  127         2. By forwardable mail, e-mail, or facsimile machine
  128  transmission to absent uniformed services voters and overseas
  129  voters. The absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter
  130  may designate in the vote-by-mail ballot request the preferred
  131  method of transmission. If the voter does not designate the
  132  method of transmission, the vote-by-mail ballot shall be mailed.
  133         3. By personal delivery before 7 p.m. on election day to
  134  the elector, upon presentation of the identification required in
  135  s. 101.043.
  136         4. By delivery to a designee on election day or up to 9
  137  days before prior to the day of an election. Any elector may
  138  designate in writing an immediate family member a person to pick
  139  up the ballot for the elector; however, the person designated
  140  may not pick up more than two vote-by-mail ballots per election,
  141  other than the designee’s own ballot, except that additional
  142  ballots may be picked up for members of the designee’s immediate
  143  family. For purposes of this section, “immediate family” means
  144  the elector’s designee’s spouse or the parent, child,
  145  grandparent, or sibling of the elector designee or of the
  146  designee’s spouse. The designee shall provide to the supervisor
  147  the written authorization by the elector and a picture
  148  identification of the designee and must complete an affidavit.
  149  The designee shall state in the affidavit that the designee is
  150  authorized by the elector to pick up that ballot and that shall
  151  indicate if the elector is a member of the designee’s immediate
  152  family and indicate, if so, the relationship. The department
  153  shall prescribe the form of the affidavit. If the supervisor is
  154  satisfied that the designee is authorized to pick up the ballot
  155  and that the signature of the elector on the written
  156  authorization matches the signature of the elector on file, the
  157  supervisor shall give the ballot to that designee for delivery
  158  to the elector.
  159         5. Except as provided in s. 101.655, the supervisor may not
  160  deliver a vote-by-mail ballot to an elector or an elector’s
  161  immediate family member on the day of the election unless there
  162  is an emergency, to the extent that the elector will be unable
  163  to go to his or her assigned polling place. If a vote-by-mail
  164  ballot is delivered, the elector or his or her designee shall
  165  execute an affidavit affirming to the facts which allow for
  166  delivery of the vote-by-mail ballot. The department shall adopt
  167  a rule providing for the form of the affidavit.
  168         Section 2. Subsection (6) is added to section 101.64,
  169  Florida Statutes, to read:
  170         101.64 Delivery of vote-by-mail ballots; envelopes; form.—
  171         (6) The outside of the ballot and the secrecy and mailing
  172  envelopes may not display the party affiliation of the absent
  173  elector who has been issued such ballot or display any other
  174  partisan information.
  175         Section 3. Section 101.65, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  176  read:
  177         101.65 Instructions to absent electors.—The supervisor
  178  shall enclose with each vote-by-mail ballot separate printed
  179  instructions in substantially the following form; however, where
  180  the instructions appear in capitalized text, the text of the
  181  printed instructions must be in bold font:
  183                  READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY                
  184                       BEFORE MARKING BALLOT.                      
  186         1. VERY IMPORTANT. In order to ensure that your vote-by
  187  mail ballot will be counted, it should be completed and returned
  188  as soon as possible so that it can reach the supervisor of
  189  elections of the county in which your precinct is located no
  190  later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. However, if you
  191  are an overseas voter casting a ballot in a presidential
  192  preference primary or general election, your vote-by-mail ballot
  193  must be postmarked or dated no later than the date of the
  194  election and received by the supervisor of elections of the
  195  county in which you are registered to vote no later than 10 days
  196  after the date of the election. Note that the later you return
  197  your ballot, the less time you will have to cure any signature
  198  deficiencies, which is authorized until 5 p.m. on the 2nd day
  199  after the election.
  200         2. Mark your ballot in secret as instructed on the ballot.
  201  You must mark your own ballot unless you are unable to do so
  202  because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write.
  203         3. Mark only the number of candidates or issue choices for
  204  a race as indicated on the ballot. If you are allowed to “Vote
  205  for One” candidate and you vote for more than one candidate,
  206  your vote in that race will not be counted.
  207         4. Place your marked ballot in the enclosed secrecy
  208  envelope.
  209         5. Insert the secrecy envelope into the enclosed mailing
  210  envelope which is addressed to the supervisor.
  211         6. Seal the mailing envelope and completely fill out the
  212  Voter’s Certificate on the back of the mailing envelope.
  213         7. VERY IMPORTANT. In order for your vote-by-mail ballot to
  214  be counted, you must sign your name on the line above (Voter’s
  215  Signature). A vote-by-mail ballot will be considered illegal and
  216  not be counted if the signature on the voter’s certificate does
  217  not match the signature on record. The signature on file at the
  218  time the supervisor of elections in the county in which your
  219  precinct is located receives your vote-by-mail ballot is the
  220  signature that will be used to verify your signature on the
  221  voter’s certificate. If you need to update your signature for
  222  this election, send your signature update on a voter
  223  registration application to your supervisor of elections so that
  224  it is received before your vote-by-mail ballot is received.
  225         8. VERY IMPORTANT. If you are an overseas voter, you must
  226  include the date you signed the Voter’s Certificate on the line
  227  above (Date) or your ballot may not be counted.
  228         9. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed mailing
  229  envelope. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed. THE
  234         10. FELONY NOTICE. It is a felony under Florida law to
  235  accept any gift, payment, or gratuity in exchange for your vote
  236  for a candidate. It is also a felony under Florida law to vote
  237  in an election using a false identity or false address, or under
  238  any other circumstances making your ballot false or fraudulent.
  239         Section 4. Paragraphs (a) and (c) of subsection (2) of
  240  section 101.68, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  241         101.68 Canvassing of vote-by-mail ballot.—
  242         (2)(a) The county canvassing board may begin the canvassing
  243  of vote-by-mail ballots upon the completion of the public
  244  testing of automatic tabulating equipment pursuant to s.
  245  101.5612(2) at 7 a.m. on the 22nd day before the election, but
  246  must begin such canvassing by no not later than noon on the day
  247  following the election. In addition, for any county using
  248  electronic tabulating equipment, the processing of vote-by-mail
  249  ballots through such tabulating equipment may begin at 7 a.m. on
  250  the 22nd day before the election. However, notwithstanding any
  251  such authorization to begin canvassing or otherwise processing
  252  vote-by-mail ballots early, no result shall be released until
  253  after the closing of the polls in that county on election day.
  254  Any supervisor, deputy supervisor, canvassing board member,
  255  election board member, or election employee who releases the
  256  results of a canvassing or processing of vote-by-mail ballots
  257  prior to the closing of the polls in that county on election day
  258  commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in
  259  s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  260         (c)1. The canvassing board must, if the supervisor has not
  261  already done so, compare the signature of the elector on the
  262  voter’s certificate or on the vote-by-mail ballot cure affidavit
  263  as provided in subsection (4) with the most recent signature of
  264  the elector in the registration books or the precinct register
  265  to see that the elector is duly registered in the county and to
  266  determine the legality of that vote-by-mail ballot. A vote-by
  267  mail ballot may only be counted if:
  268         a. The signature on the voter’s certificate or the cure
  269  affidavit matches the elector’s signature in the registration
  270  books or precinct register; however, in the case of a cure
  271  affidavit, the supporting identification listed in subsection
  272  (4) must also confirm the identity of the elector; or
  273         b. The cure affidavit contains a signature that does not
  274  match the elector’s signature in the registration books or
  275  precinct register, but the elector has submitted a current and
  276  valid Tier 1 identification pursuant to subsection (4) which
  277  confirms the identity of the elector.
  279  For purposes of this subparagraph, any canvassing board finding
  280  that an elector’s signatures do not match must be by majority
  281  vote and beyond a reasonable doubt.
  282         2. The ballot of an elector who casts a vote-by-mail ballot
  283  shall be counted even if the elector dies on or before election
  284  day, as long as, before the death of the voter, the ballot was
  285  postmarked by the United States Postal Service, date-stamped
  286  with a verifiable tracking number by a common carrier, or
  287  already in the possession of the supervisor.
  288         3. A vote-by-mail ballot is not considered illegal if the
  289  signature of the elector does not cross the seal of the mailing
  290  envelope.
  291         4. If any elector or candidate present believes that a
  292  vote-by-mail ballot is illegal due to a defect apparent on the
  293  voter’s certificate or the cure affidavit, he or she may, at any
  294  time before the ballot is removed from the envelope, file with
  295  the canvassing board a protest against the canvass of that
  296  ballot, specifying the precinct, the ballot, and the reason he
  297  or she believes the ballot to be illegal. A challenge based upon
  298  a defect in the voter’s certificate or cure affidavit may not be
  299  accepted after the ballot has been removed from the mailing
  300  envelope.
  301         5. If the canvassing board determines that a ballot is
  302  illegal, a member of the board must, without opening the
  303  envelope, mark across the face of the envelope: “rejected as
  304  illegal.” The cure affidavit, if applicable, the envelope, and
  305  the ballot therein shall be preserved in the manner that
  306  official ballots are preserved.
  307         Section 5. Subsection (2) of section 101.69, Florida
  308  Statutes, is amended to read:
  309         101.69 Voting in person; return of vote-by-mail ballot.—
  310         (2) The supervisor may not shall allow an elector who has
  311  received a vote-by-mail ballot to physically return a voted
  312  vote-by-mail ballot to the supervisor by placing the envelope
  313  containing his or her marked ballot in a secure drop box. Secure
  314  drop boxes shall be placed at the main office of the supervisor,
  315  at each branch office of the supervisor, and at each early
  316  voting site. Secure drop boxes may also be placed at any other
  317  site that would otherwise qualify as an early voting site under
  318  s. 101.657(1); provided, however, that any such site must be
  319  staffed during the county’s early voting hours of operation by
  320  an employee of the supervisor’s office or a sworn law
  321  enforcement officer.
  322         Section 6. Subsection (2) of section 104.0616, Florida
  323  Statutes, is amended to read:
  324         104.0616 Vote-by-mail ballots and voting; violations.—
  325         (2) Any person who distributes, orders, requests, collects,
  326  delivers provides or offers to provide, and any person who
  327  accepts, a pecuniary or other benefit in exchange for
  328  distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting, delivering, or
  329  otherwise physically possesses a vote-by-mail ballot of another
  330  person, not including possessing more than two vote-by-mail
  331  ballots per election in addition to his or her own ballot or a
  332  ballot belonging to an immediate family member, except as
  333  provided in ss. 101.6105-101.694, commits a misdemeanor of the
  334  first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
  335  or s. 775.084.
  336         Section 7. Notwithstanding that an elector has submitted a
  337  vote-by-mail ballot request before the effective date of this
  338  act initially applicable through the end of the calendar year of
  339  the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election, any
  340  such elector must affirmatively resubmit a vote-by-mail ballot
  341  request following the effective date of this act in order to
  342  receive vote-by-mail ballots for the 2022 primary and general
  343  elections.
  344         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.