NEWS & ANALYSIS

DeSantis to Introduce New Election Integrity Agenda, Ban Mass Mail-In Ballots, Target Ballot Harvesting


Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a number of election integrity reforms to target ballot harvesting, ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting in the Sunshine State following the mishaps of the 2020 election. 

The legislation he will pursue in March, prior to the 2022 midterms, would ban “mass mailing of vote-by-mail ballots,” require voters to request mail-in-ballots each year, and require the signature found on a ballot to match the most recent one on file.

Candidates and political party members would also be allowed to observe signatures being matched at vote counting facilities. 

Additionally, counties will be prohibited from receiving grants from third-party entities who are conducting “get out the vote” efforts,” BizPacReview reports. 

“We have led on this issue from the very beginning,” DeSantis said at a press conference. “The result of 2020, from an administrative perspective, was that Florida had the most transparent and efficient election anywhere in the country,” he added. “The results speak for themselves, but we also can’t rest on our laurels. We need to make sure that we continue to stay ahead of the curve.” 

DeSantis urged that his goal is to make sure “citizens have confidence in the elections.” 

“We want everyone to vote, we don’t want anyone to cheat,” he noted. 

Though ballot harvesting is already against Florida state law, DeSantis is going after those who “volunteer” to round up ballots. 

“My view is: we should have no ballot harvesting,” he said. 

He also addressed ballot drop boxes, saying they ultimately enable people looking to destroy or manipulate ballots. 

“You can’t leave these boxes unattended,” he warned. “I think that you can take it, put it in the mail or take it to the elections office. Why do you need to have these things out there?” 

“I think these proposals will strengthen us even more. And I think it will put us in the catbird seat as these other elections come up and people will continue to really look for Florida,” he added. 

To avoid conflict and voter insecurity, perhaps other states should look to Florida as an example as we head into yet another election cycle.