Election officials ask for changes to voting process amid coronavirus crisis
ORLANDO, Fla. - The next election may seem like a ways away, but officials say they must start preparing in just a few weeks. With COVID-19, they anticipate more mail-in voting this year but are still waiting to hear from Gov. Ron DeSantis in order to plan.
"Today, I’m going to take you behind the scenes to learn more about vote-by-mail."
Election supervisors are doing everything they can to prepare, including making videos to educate people on how to vote by mail. They insist it is safe in the time of a pandemic.
"The one thing that’s going to happen with in-person voting is it’s going to be slower. We’re going to be social distancing," said Craig Latimer, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisor of Elections.
Latimer sent two letters to the governor, pushing to change the elections process, asking to add an extra week for early voting and more time for voting by mail.
"We’ve asked for a little bit of a bigger window to get the vote-by-mail ballots out, because we know we’re going to have an increase," said Latimer.
Officials have also asked for permission to relocate or consolidate polling places.
"We’re still having problems contacting polling sites that we used previously because they closed down, and they haven’t reopened."
So far, Latimer has not received a response from Gov. DeSantis. The Department of State told FOX 35 News they and the governor have discussed the recommendations, replying with the statement below
:"Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee has met with Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss recommendations regarding election preparation and to discuss the letters sent by the Florida Supervisors of Elections.
"Additionally, the Secretary and others within the Department of State discussed the letters and the conversation with Governor DeSantis on a phone call on May 7.
"We continue to work the Supervisors to prepare for any issues that have arisen – and may arise – for the August and November elections."
Latimer said he needs answers now.
"Election experts made recommendations to the governor of what needed to be done so that we could run safe and healthy elections for in-person voting, and I would hope that the governor would accept these recommendations and move on them," Latimer added.
He said they need to start preparing and printing ballots next month. Ballots for military and overseas voters are supposed to be mailed out by July 4.