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Nonprofit leader opposed to new ballot box proposal

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(The Center Square) – A legislative proposal to limit the number of drop-off ballot boxes in this year’s Florida elections and to bring back primary run-off elections in 2026, is generating criticism from a nonprofit voting rights group.

Amy Keith, executive director of Common Cause Florida, said the proposed legislation would make voting less convenient and would be a change in the rules for the fourth year in a row.

“It’s really unfair to make Floridians constantly revise their voting plans and methods,” Keith told The Center Square. “It’s not a partisan issue. In 2022, you had almost 2.8 million Florida voters who voted by mail. A lot of those people choose to use drop boxes, because they are near where they work or it’s toward the end of the election and they want to make sure it gets there in time.”

Some counties provide postage-paid envelopes for mail-in ballots, but others do not, Keith said. Mailing ballots also takes longer than placing them in a drop-off box, she added. In order to be counted, ballots must arrive by 7 p.m. on Election Day, regardless of when they are postmarked, Keith said.

“Some people feel more secure putting their ballot in a drop-off box,” Keith said.

The proposal would limit where drop-off boxes would be located, she said.

“Under current law, you can have drop boxes at basically every early voting site, every supervisor of elections office and at every location that is qualified to be an early voting site as long as it is staffed by a supervisor of elections worker,” Keith said.

The new law would reduce the number of drop-off box locations and also limit the hours the boxes could be used in some locations, Keith said.

“That means in every county, on the Monday before Election Day, there would be only one drop box allowed on that day,” she said. “I don’t see the logic behind that.”

The bill would also bring back primary runoff elections if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

“Our concern is that it would increase the costs of campaigns and skew things in favor of candidates who are wealthier, backed by wealthy special interests,” Keith said.

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