Florida is once again trying to constrain voter rights by restricting satellite locations where citizens can deposit absentee ballots. The Legislature is considering a bill that would ban county elections supervisors from accepting completed absentee ballots at branch libraries and tax collector offices, in response to Pinellas County’s defiance of a state order to quit that practice. That voter-friendly option is not only convenient but also saves money, according to several elections supervisors. Florida should allow the eastiest balloting possible, not the toughest.
The state has a checkered history on restricting elections, most recently with Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to shut down the University of Florida’s student union as an early voting site. According to the Scott administration, the building doesn’t qualify as a government-owned community center or convention center under a new law.
This year, the governor’s office is once again trying to cleanse the registration rolls of what is perceived as ineligible voters — just like in 2012 when the purge lists comprised mostly Hispanics and blacks. That flawed effort two years ago wasted state money on an effort to initially rid the rolls of 182,000 registered voters that then dropped to 2,600 before finally falling to about 200. The list was woefully inaccurate.