Voting By Mail Becomes More Difficult Now

CBS4's Bobeth Yates reports on how Florida representatives have made it more difficult to vote by mail.

Video Transcript

- Now, at 5:00, the Florida legislature approves legislation that will limit voting by mail and ballot drop boxes in Florida in our next election.

- That's despite many in the State saying the 2020 election was flawless in Florida. CBS 4's Bobeth Yates is live now in Lauderhill with what the legislature's action means for you Bobeth.

BOBETH YATES: That's exactly right. Voters could soon see major changes in the election process. That includes limiting the number of years they actually can vote consecutively by mail and also limits and the number of ballot boxes available.

CHARLES ZELDEN: What they're trying to do, is make it harder to vote.

BOBETH YATES: Charles Zeldin, a political science professor at Nova Southeastern University is talking about the Voting Reform bill that just passed both the House and the Senate.

CHARLES ZELDEN: They're not making it impossible to vote, just more difficult. So for example, the old rule was that you could register for a two-election cycle period to automatically receive an absentee ballot. Now, it's a one-year every cycle, you've got to re-register for.

BOBETH YATES: In addition, the bill would add ID requirements to register to vote or request a vote-by-mail ballot, making it mandatory for voters to provide their driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social. And Broward County supervisor of elections, Joe Scott, says there are other changes that could impact them.

JOE SCOTT: The biggest thing for us is that we're losing our 24-hour drop boxes that we have at the Downtown office as well as in Lauderhill. Now, we have to have those drop boxes manned in order to have them open 24 hours.

BOBETH YATES: Scott says the bill does not come with additional funding for the new mandates, but supporters of the bill say their goal is to increase election security, and they're adamant that the changes won't impact voting.

DENNIS BAXLEY: It's pretty easy to vote today. We give you weeks and tens of days. We've opened so many doors to how to vote that you really need to be looking at what could cause opportunities for mishap or mischief to occur. We don't want to wait till we have a debacle. We want to stay strong and be able to give a good report.

BOBETH YATES: But Zelden says he thinks this is partisan politics.

CHARLES ZELDEN: The irony is, when we had the 2020 election, the State was bragging, we have the best voting system in the country. Everything worked great. There weren't any problems. And of course, there really weren't.

BOBETH YATES: Now, we also received the statement from the supervisor of election from the Miami-Dade County, Christina White, and she says, now, that the final vote details or the actual bill details have been out, they're going to spend the next few weeks reviewing it so they are in compliance, but they say they remain committed to making sure that voters have the accessibility and the actual convenience to vote when they can. Live in Fort Lauderdale, Bobeth Yates, CBS 4 News.