Florida election officials are preparing for the impact of a new law that will require, among other things, additional information for voters currently registered. These requirements are in addition to any new requirements that may pass in the closing days of the current legislative session.
The bill under current consideration, HB 7061, sponsored by State Representative Daniel Perez (R-Miami), is headed to the House floor after passing the House Appropriations Committee in a party line vote. An amendment to the bill during the meeting made it almost identical to SB 524, which passed last Thursday.
The amendment requires supervisors of elections to maintain voter roll lists annually instead of every two years, one of DeSantis’ requests. It also removed a section requiring the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number, driver’s license or photo ID on vote-by-mail ballots. The amendment also adds a fine to organizations if a person collecting voter applications on its behalf changes someone’s party affiliation without consent. The fine is $1,000 per altered application.
A previous amendment removed additional requirements related to vote-by-mail procedures. Instead, the revised bill would direct the secretary of state to work on a plan to “prescribe the use of a Florida driver license number, Florida identification card number, Social Security number, or any part thereof to confirm the identity of each elector returning a vote-by-mail ballot.” The secretary of state would have to submit the plan by Jan. 1.
Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Earley, told The Florida Capital Star that he has begun the process of removing seven felons from the Leon County voter registration system. Earley noted that all seven voted in the 2020 general election.
The voters were discovered by a private citizen who forwarded 12 names to Earley’s office. Earley told The Florida Capital Star that after research by his office it was determined that seven of the voters were convicted sex offenders and should not have been allowed to register to vote. Earley said further research is needed to determine the fate of the other four names.
Earley said that his office takes all input from citizens seriously and in this case there were problems with several registered voters.
Republicans have a good chance to retake the majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, powered by historically-Republican voters in swing districts who were alienated by former President Donald Trump. To win the majority, Republicans need to protect what they have and take six seats. They see opportunities in Northern Virginia, metro Richmond, Virginia Beach, and downstate Virginia.
“We feel that with the environment that’s going on right now, we’ve got great opportunities to pick up five to nine seats to take over,” Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise) told The Virginia Star. “That’s one thing you don’t have any control of, but the environment, you know, of Biden and just the overreach by a lot of the Democrats’ bills last year has really focused the independents back our way.”
While national eyes are focused on the Virginia gubernatorial races, many Virginia political watchers are looking towards the Virginia House of Delegates’ races. There are many competitive races across the Commonwealth, from the crystal waters of Mountain Lake in Giles County, to the muddy waters of the James River in Richmond, to the hot I-66 pavement of Fairfax and Loudoun County, only one thing is for sure.