386-283-4883
Excerpts From The Supervisor of Elections Newsletter

Excerpts From The Supervisor of Elections Newsletter

Legislative Changes

The 2021 legislative session is in full swing and there are many proposed changes to election law. Many of these changes are opposed by Florida’s Supervisors of Elections because they will make the process more difficult to administer and more difficult for voters to cast their ballots. Interestingly, the bills filed this year do not include any of the proposed changes suggested by Florida Supervisors of Elections. Here is the statement from our association, the FSE:

Florida Supervisors of Elections Statement on PCB-PIE 21-05

In 2020, Florida was universally praised for our exemplary conduct of elections – from the very highest offices at the federal and state level to our most important stakeholders, voters. Before making sweeping changes to election law, it’s important to consider how Florida’s elections experts expect this proposed legislation to impact the conduct of future elections and the voter experience. Below, we outline our primary concerns with this proposed legislation.

Several of the proposed provisions in the bill will negatively impact the voter experience:

  1. Restricting signature verification to the most recent signature on file is a disservice to the voter, whose most recent signature may be an electronic signature issued during in-person voting or at DHSMV. Retaining the authority to review multiple signatures on file, including those that were signed on paper, provides for a more accurate signature verification process.
  2. In 2020, 1.5 million Vote By Mail voters took advantage of the convenience and security of drop boxes. The proposed requirement that those voters present a Florida Driver License or Florida ID before returning a Vote By Mail ballot in a drop box, and complete an affidavit if the address on their ID doesn’t match the ballot envelope, will result in long lines and inconvenience. If this is meant to prevent “ballot harvesting,” we recommend limiting the number of ballots someone can return. Limiting the number, rather than basing restrictions on relationships, would also accommodate those voters who do not have immediate family to help them.
  3. Current law protects voter signatures – they may be viewed but not reproduced. There is no way to ensure the protection of voter signatures if they are made available electronically, as is proposed in this bill.
  4. Secrecy sleeves are provided in every Vote By Mail package, and most but not all voters use them. Requiring that ballots must be returned inside the secrecy envelope for their ballot to be counted would result in numerous valid ballots being thrown out unnecessarily.
  5. Millions of voters have Vote By Mail requests on file that are valid through 2022 or 2024. It is unclear whether the proposed revision to F.S. 101.62 would cancel Vote By Mail requests made prior to November 3, 2020. It is in the voters’ best interest that existing Vote By Mail requests should not be cancelled.

Other proposed changes add time-intensive, costly procedures to the conduct of election and jeopardize the timely reporting of election results:

  1. The proposed requirement to post adjacent images of every Vote By Mail signature and the most recent signature on file on a website, sortable by precinct, presents an enormous operational and financial burden. This would likely quadruple the workload involved with signature verification, not including the cost involved with hiring and training additional staff to do the work. In addition, we cannot predict the amount of time that may be added to the process to accommodate challenges that would go to the Canvassing Board. This bill includes no protection against frivolous challenges that could be issued to slow the process down and does not require those challengers to be trained in signature verification, as our staff and Canvassing Board are. As an alternative, we suggest instituting an audit process in which a percentage of Vote By Mail ballots are randomly selected and reviewed by the Canvassing Board.
  2. The proposed requirement to upload adjacent images of original and duplicated ballots would be another time-consuming, expensive and unnecessary process. Many of the ballots that are duplicated are damaged ballots, so batch scanning is not an option. In Hillsborough County alone, this provision would have required 24,000 individual scans and uploads for the 2020 General Election. Florida’s Supervisors of Elections follow careful procedures with multiple reviews to ensure that every ballot is duplicated accurately. Florida law already requires duplication to take place in the presence of witnesses and allows observation by parties, candidates or designees. If further accountability is sought, we recommend instituting an audit process.
  3. It’s been proposed that duplicated ballots be on colored paper. Florida’s election equipment is not currently certified to scan and tabulate ballots issued on colored paper.
  4. Political parties and candidates already have daily access to Vote By Mail information, including the voter’s name, the address the ballot was mailed to, dates of delivery and receipt, and signature verification status. There is no need to create additional requirements around this, nor should voters affiliated with political parties be treated differently than voters who are not affiliated with a party.

Florida’s Supervisors of Elections feel strongly that we must be advocates for our voters. It’s our intention that all eligible voters have convenient and ample opportunities to vote, and that the elections in which they cast their ballots are safe and secure. Calling for unnecessary election reforms doesn’t just endanger our ability to conduct elections efficiently and effectively. It also risks destroying the voter confidence that we have worked so hard to earn.

News coverage:

You have a voice in this process! If you would like to contact your State Senator and/or State Representative to let them know whether you support or oppose these proposed changes, now is the time. Here is their contact information:

Flagler DEC Newsletter March 2021

Flagler DEC Newsletter March 2021

JAn SullivanFlagler County Democratic Party News

John Caruso, Precinct 29, our State Committeeman, will be moving out of Flagler County to Duval County to be near family.  We will miss him terribly.  Clyde Jones, Precinct 31, has graciously accepted the appointment of new State Committeeman.  This is a busy and important role.  Thank you, Clyde.

We are ramping up our door-to-door Voter Registration efforts.  We must close the D-R gap in voter registrations in Flagler County if we expect to win elections in Flagler County.  This will be a difficult and long-term effort and will require dozens of volunteers who are willing to go door-to-door to register voters.  We are preparing now and will begin this door-to-door project in April.  If you are willing to be a part of this very important process, please email flaglerdemsevents@gmail.com

Our Precinct Leaders are reaching out to New Democrats in their precincts.  Some New Democrats are new to town, others have switched parties.  We still need many Precinct Leaders to help with our voter and campaign efforts.   It only requires one meeting per month and a planned reach-out per month.  It is a bit busier during election season.  If you are willing to learn more about being a Precinct Leader, please contact me at flagdemchair@gmail.com

Janet Sullivan

Chair

Flagler County Democratic Executive Committee

flagdemchair@gmail.com

(386) 283-4883

Giving Link:  www.actblue.com/donate/flaglerdemocrats

 Ever wonder what the difference is between the Flagler County Democratic Executive Committee and the Democratic Clubs?

The Democratic Executive Committee (DEC), also referred to as the Flagler County Democratic Party or Flagler County Democrats, is the official “franchise” of the Florida Democratic Party.

  • The DEC is responsible for election-related activities: voter registration, vote-by-mail activities, making sure people get out to vote, candidate recruitment, candidate training, etc.  The goal is to get Democrats elected locally and throughout the state.
  • The DEC is comprised mostly of Precinct Leaders who help coordinate the election-related activities within their precincts.
  • The worker-bees for these election-related activities are volunteers like YOU!
  • The DEC meets regularly with leaders of the Florida Democratic Party and leaders of other county DEC’s to share best practices, tools, etc. so that we can all be on the same page and become more effective in electing Democrats in our own counties as well as state-wide.
  • It costs thousands of dollars for candidate training, candidate donations, literature, postage, etc. We also have ongoing administrative costs of rent, internet, phones, etc.  We are now planning for 2022.  If you have the ability, your one-time or recurring monthly donation of any amount would be very appreciated.

Giving Link:  www.actblue.com/donate/flaglerdemocrats

 The Democratic Clubs (Palm Coast Democratic Club and Flagler Beach Democratic Club) are chartered by the Florida Democratic Party and the Flagler County Democrats.

  • These clubs offer an opportunity for Democrats to get to know each other and to work on projects that benefit the Democratic Party as well as our local community.
  • The clubs are more social in nature and when they meet in person, club members frequently gather for a meal and drinks before the club meeting.
  • Clubs frequently present special speakers from the community or host candidates during election season.
  • Many club members also volunteer for election-related activities with the DEC.
  • Club Presidents are on the Steering Committee for the DEC, so that we all communicate frequently.

The Democratic Women’s Club of Flagler County is a valued partner of the Flagler County Democrats and is a “franchise” of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida .

  • The organization was developed to provide a forum for discussion of public matters, to provide support for qualified candidates for public office, and to encourage qualified Democratic women to seek elected office.
  • Members of the Democratic Women’s Club work on women-focused projects which benefit the Democratic Party. They also work on projects which support at-risk women in Flagler County.
  • The club is very focused and informed on legislation which affects all voters, but particularly women.
  • The club frequently presents special speakers from the community or hosts candidates during election season.
  • Many club members also volunteer for election-related activities with the DEC.
  • The club President is on the Steering Committee for the DEC, so that we all communicate frequently.

URGENT!!  Call our Florida Legislatures!!

Florida lawmakers have created SB-90, a Florida State Bill which is intended to suppress voters by changing the Vote-by-Mail rules.  Democrats out-vote Republicans using Vote-by-Mail, but Republicans out-vote Democrats at the polls, so you see why Republicans have created this bill.

The Senate Rules Committee could hear Senate Bill 90 as early as next week. This is the last stop for this voter restriction bill before it heads to the full Florida Senate.

Senate Bill 90 will:

  • Make it harder to vote-by-mail by forcing voters to submit vote-by-mail requests more often than is currently required, a completely unnecessary administrative hurdle.
  • Retroactively cancel voters’ current vote-by-mail ballot requests. This means a voter who submitted a request last year thinking it was valid through next year’s election will need to submit a new request.
  • Make it a crime for voters to ask a trusted friend or caregiver to pick up or drop off a vote-by-mail ballot, limiting voting access for working, elderly, and mobility-impaired Floridians who cannot retrieve or turn in their ballot themselves.
  • Eliminate secure vote-by-mail drop boxes, which more than 1.5 million Floridians used during the 2020 Election to safely, conveniently, and securely return their ballot.

Call our Florida Lawmakers immediately.  Tell them you are against SB-90.

Senator Travis Hutson   (850) 487-5007

Representative Paul Renner  (850) 717-5024

UPCOMING EVENTS—  All are Welcome

March 24, Wednesday, 12 pm – 1:45 pm

  • “Blue Conversation” hosted by the Flagler County Democratic Party
  • 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at noon
  • Sometimes we have a guest speaker, and sometimes we just follow the rabbits down their holes. The topics change for each meeting, but it’s always interesting.  Feel free to just listen or participate.

EXCITING!  Special Speaker for the upcoming “Blue Conversation” this Wednesday, March 24:  Sara Riley from the Flagler County Chapter of “Showing up for Racial Justice” (SURJ) organization.  The Flagler County Chapter of SURJ was recently established and is part of a multi-racial movement organizing white people to build a racially-just society.  You can learn more about SURJ Flagler thru Facebook:  SURJ Flagler or website:  https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org

Join our “Blue Conversation” with Sara Riley of SURJ Flagler

This coming Wednesday, March 24, 12 pm – 1:45 pm

Zoom link is:    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88926776466

March 25, Thursday, 12 pm – 1 pm

  • A webcast sponsored by the Flagler Tiger Bay Club: “Insiders’ Look at Florida Politics”
  • This webcast is free. Membership not required.
  • flaglertigerbayclub.com/Upcoming-Events
  • Flagler Tiger Bay Club is a non-partisan gathering where adherents of all political views are encouraged to listen and understand different perspectives on important issues in a civilized environment.

April 1, Thursday, 7 pm

  • Monthly meeting of the Palm Coast Democratic Club (PCDC)
  • The PCDC fosters good fellowship among Democrats in the Palm Coast area. The club holds events to bring members together to support local candidates, issues, and organizations, while at the same time enjoying time together socially.
  • Contact Nic Bergraat swimnic@gmail.com  for more information or to receive the Zoom link for the next meeting.

April 10, Saturday, 9:30 am

  • Monthly meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of Flagler County
  • This organization brings together Democratic women and men to make a difference in our community and at the legislative level. The members are committed to progressive, Democratic values.
  • Contact dwcflagler@gmail.com for more information or to receive the Zoom link for the meeting.

April 14, Wednesday, 12 pm – 1:45 pm

  • “Blue Conversation” hosted by the Flagler County Democratic Party
  • 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at noon
  • Sometimes we have a guest speaker, and sometimes we just follow the rabbits down their holes. The topics change for each meeting, but it’s always interesting.  Feel free to just listen or participate.
  • The zoom link is:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88926776466

April 14, Wednesday, 6:30 pm

  • Monthly meeting of the Flagler Beach Democratic Club (FBDC)
  • This organization welcomes all who want to make a positive difference in the Flagler Beach community and who are dedicated to Democratic politics and progressive causes.
  • Contact information can be found on the website flaglerbeachdemocraticclub.com

May 12, Wednesday, 5:00 pm

Flagler Beach Democratic Club Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, May 12,⋅5:00 – 8:00 pm
Monthly on the second Wednesday

Location:

Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve
815 Moody Ln, Flagler Beach, FL 32136, USA

Description:

Join us the Second Wednesday of each month @ Betty Steflik Preserve Pavilion for In Person Meeting

Come as early as 5pm to enjoy socially distanced (bring your own) dinner or drink.  (No alcohol allowed by Parks Service.

It feels good to get together with like-minded people In Person 

Please plan to join us for all or part of our meeting.

Enter the Preserve from Moody Lane off N. Flagler Avenue.  See directions below.

Masks ON once the meeting starts at 6:30 for all people who are not at least two weeks past their final COVID vaccination. 

Just show up any time on Wednesday.  We’ll have the barbecue hot and ready to cook anything you’ve brought for yourself to eat by 5pm.  Eat, drink, socialize in the manner appropriate for your vaccinated status.

Betty Steflik Preserve has a covered pavilion with 14 large, spaced out picnic tables.  There is plenty of room to spread out and see each other in person for a meeting.

The ranks of our membership that is fully vaccinated continues to grow (Thank you Biden Administration!)  Those fully vaccinated can sit at the designated tables for the meeting, unmasked if desired, where people can sit closer and safely mingle.

Really looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Join us at Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve 815 Moody Lane 

From I-95 and SR 100, drive east to Flagler Beach. After you cross the bridge over the Intracoastal, turn left on Flagler Avenue. At the next corner, make a left to follow Moody Lane down beneath the SR 100 bridge. Turn left at the sign and you’ll end up at the Pavilion.

Organizer: Flagler County Democrats

Flagler County Democrats
Creator: Created by: Sally Hirst

 

?????

If “con” is the opposite of “pro”, is congress the opposite of progress?   ?