ORLANDO, Fla. — Thousands of Florida voters are having their vote-by-mail ballot requests canceled.
This comes after a new law was signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which went into effect earlier this year.
What You Need To Know
- Florida voters will have to request their mail-in ballot every election cycle, as well as provide their driver’s license number or last four of their social
- Republicans who passed the law said it will increase election security
- People against the law said it restricts access to voting
In addition to requesting a mail-in ballot more frequently, all voters must now provide either a driver's license number or the last four digits of their social.
In the past, an application for a vote-by-mail ballot covered two general election cycles. The new law requires voters who want an absentee ballot to apply for one every cycle.
Almost all the existing requests on file as of the end of 2022 were nullified by the new regulation. Additionally, voters can only request to receive a mail-in ballot automatically for a maximum of two years.
Deborah Coffy, a senior at the University of Central Florida, is an advocate for mental health and a member of the League of Women Voters in Orange County.
Coffy is concerned about the impact of the new law on voter accessibility. "It really limits the accessibility that people have when it comes to voting by mail," said Coffy.
She believes that the law's proponents, who argue that it will increase election security, are misguided.
"There's been very few cases of votes being harvested, of votes being falsified. I think those tactics are used to scare individuals and keeping them away from voting, when voting is a right for many Americans," said Coffy.
Despite her concerns, Coffy remains committed to encouraging her peers to vote. "There comes a point in time where we do need to make our voices heard and known by going to the ballot box," said Coffy.
Approximately one-third of Florida voters used the state's vote-by-mail system in the 2022 General Election.
Many Supervisor of Elections are informing voters about the change, but Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wilcox expects vote-by-mail ballots to decrease.
"We've reset this vote-by-mail request a couple of times in the last 20 years in Florida and those who prefer that method have just come back and renewed their request," said Supervisor Wilcox.
As the impact of the new law on Florida elections becomes clearer, Coffy and other advocates say they will continue to make their voices heard and fight for voter accessibility.