In 2011 Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law sweeping election reform legislation that limits third-party registrations, decreases the length of time for early voting and creates more reasons to cast a provisional ballot. At the time the governor signed the legislation into law, many supervisors of elections throughout the Sunshine State were concerned about the impacts the new law could have not only on their offices, but also on voters. Now, just about a year later, some of those concerns, in the eyes of the people responsible for administering elections, seem justified. “Several of the changes were very unpopular with supervisors of elections, but at the end of the day, barring court intervention, we must implement any new laws passed by the legislature and signed by the governor,” said David Stafford, supervisor of elections for Escambia County. Stafford is also the current president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. “That said, as an association we will continue to advocate for changes to Florida’s statutes, including provisions contained in HB 1355, to improve the administration of elections in our state,” Stafford said.
Elections supervisors across the state noted that the new law has involved changing training manuals, re-training volunteers and more administrative work, on top of an already busy presidential election year. “Any time we are faced with significant statutory changes, there is a period of adjustment in implementing the new provisions. This can be particularly challenging in a presidential election year,” Stafford said. “One of the biggest challenges was that most of the law went into effect upon enactment, unlike previous years when there was a delay between enactment and the effective date.”
The fiscal impacts of the law have varied from county to county and provision to provision. In Lee County, Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said there has been an increase in costs because of the increased use of provisional ballots. There have also been other cost increases.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.