Florida lawmakers will be asked to tackle how elections are run, after the chaos of this year’s elections led to a federal judge calling the state’s process “the laughingstock of the world.” Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano, who will take the reins of the chamber on Tuesday, told reporters Friday that he expects lawmakers to review various aspects of the elections process, from the handling of vote-by-mail ballots to certification dates. Galvano, R-Bradenton, said he’s heard from a number of senators about the issue and that he wants to revisit aspects of state elections laws. He pointed to problems beyond the current election cycle, which has included troubled recounts in races for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner and three legislative seats. The goal, he said, is to keep future elections from “judicial intervention.”
“There is an interest among the members that I’ve talked to —- after this cycle —- to revisit it, and figure out why ballots appear, why they are hard to track, why we have machine recounts that produce a substantially lesser number of votes than originally reported,” Galvano said during a gathering with reporters in his office in advance of a legislative organization session Tuesday. “Those are all issues that are important.”
A spokesman for the House did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson said in a telephone interview Friday that, in addition to looking for ways to improve the vote-by-mail process, any legislative approach to elections should consider uniformity among ballot designs.
The Jacksonville Democrat also said Florida should create a contingent of county elections supervisors to review how other states conduct different aspect of the voting process, with an emphasis on states like Oregon where elections have been conducted exclusively by mail.
“If we’re determining the process, it’s up to us to make this as smooth a process as possible for the voters. That’s who it’s about,” Gibson said. “I believe we can get to that place. I don’t think any member of the Legislature wants our state to look in disarray.”