The Florida Governor has signed CS/HB 7013, making it Chapter 2013-57, Laws of Florida. The bill had passed the House by a 115-1 margin and the Senate by 27-13. Included in the bill are the following changes:
- Supervisors of Elections must now post an “elections preparation report” three months before each general (November) election.
- Allows individuals who move to another county but haven’t yet changed their voter registration to vote a regular ballot if the new county uses an electronic database as their precinct register.
- Allows counties that must publish a multi-language ballot to ask the U.S. Department of Justice for permission to send out single-language ballots for each minority language.
- Limits constitutional amendment ballot summaries proposed by joint resolution of the Legislature to 75 words or less, matching the limit imposed on other groups.
- Allows for investigation of election equipments vendors, requires disclosure of known “defects,” and allows for civil penalties of $25,000 per defect, plus costs, to be imposed.
- Changes the process for post-election audits by county canvassing boards.
- Requires that absentee ballots be mailed to the person’s on-file address or requires that a signed, written request be filed if the ballot is to be mailed to a family member or guardian.
- Allows for delivery of an absentee ballot on election day to a voter or their immediate family member only if there is an “emergency, to the extent that the elector will be unable to go to his or her assigned polling place.” An affidavit will be required.
- For overseas absentee voters, it expands the existing 10 day window for ballot to arrive after election day from just federal races to now include all races on the ballot.
- Expands early voting locations to now also include: “fairground, civic center, courthouse, county commission building, stadium, convention center, government-owned senior center, or government-owned community center.” Also allows for additional sites if there is a part of the county that lacks an authorized type of facility.
- Sets the year 2012 as the standard for the minimum number of early voting sites in a county.
- Increases the minimum number of early voting hours per day from six to eight. Allows supervisors to decide to have more early voting days: “early voting may be offered at the discretion of the supervisor of elections on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, or 2nd day before an election that contains state or federal races for at least 8 hours per day, but not more than 12 hours per day.”
- Allows a voter, until 5 p.m. the day before election day, to “cure” their previously returned but unsigned absentee ballot by affidavit.
- Expands no solicitation zone to include a supervisor of elections’ office that prints absentee ballots.
- Sets an alternate canvassing board member appointment process.
- Alters the Presidential Preference Primary and allows its date to be set by party rule. Deletes the reference to a “Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee.”
- Makes it a first degree misdemeanor to accept, “a pecuniary or other benefit in exchange for distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting, delivering, or otherwise physically possessing more than two absentee ballots per election in addition to his or her own ballot or a ballot belonging to an immediate family member.”
The Division of Elections has posted a memo sent to the Supervisors of Elections about the changes.