After watching another Florida election drag on past election day, Senate President-designee Bill Galvano says it may be time to once again make changes in state election law, even though he doesn’t have specific recommendations yet.
Though there have been close elections since the Legislature made changes following the 2000 Bush-Gore recount, this is the first election that’s put Florida once again in the national spotlight. “We’ve had too many problems through too many cycles,” said Galvano. “It’s something I’m interested in doing – taking a look at how we are working the process and if there are modifications we can make to better serve the people during an election cycle.”
While Galvano isn’t ready to roll out proposed changes yet, there are clearly issues he wants to examine during the 2019 legislative session. During a news briefing Friday in Tallahassee, Galvano raised concerns about the chain of custody for mail-in ballots, why ballots appear after polls close and why there is a discrepancy between election night vote counting and the totals during a recount.
The Florida Legislature made significant changes to election law and required counties to modernize voting machines following the 2000 Presidential recount. The 2018 election exposed major flaws. The most glaring is in Palm Beach County. Its decade-old machines shutdown during the recount forcing the county to miss a state-imposed deadline.
Some of those fixes can be made with additional funding. County supervisors of elections have long complained about the lack of resources, especially in larger counties. Other changes will come in reviewing existing state law. Galvano mentioned crafting election law that would prevent judges from post-election intervention. Republicans, specifically, have complained Democrats are trying to change the outcome of the election through the courts while Democrats have adopted the mantra of “count every vote.” It’s clear this will be a major issue when the Legislature convenes for its 2019 session starting in March.