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Miami-Dade elections supervisor opposes Republicans’ vote-by-mail ballot changes

Florida Senate Bill 90 affects 400,000 voters in Miami-Dade

MIAMI – If Sen. Dennis Baxley and his fellow Republican supporters get their way, Florida voters will have to request a vote-by-mail ballot every two years.

Baxley introduced Florida Senate Bill 90 to invalidate millions of vote-by-mail ballot requests in Florida ahead of elections in Miami-Dade County this fall and the gubernatorial election in 2022.

“What this bill is doing is rolling back a law that has been in place for over 10 years now, and in my opinion, working very well,” said Christina White, Miami-Dade County’s elections supervisor.

White said SB 90 will force the 400,000 Miami-Dade voters who have requests for vote-by-mail ballots to make the request again and again. White said having to process these will be costly since she will have to hire temporary workers.

“This is something that is certainly going to cost taxpayers money because the bill doesn’t come with appropriations to perform this project,” White said.

The proposed law would also cancel 107,000 vote-by-mail ballots in five Miami-Dade cities holding elections this fall. The cities are Hialeah, Miami Beach, Homestead, Virginia Gardens, and Miami.

“I still think it’s a bad law. I don’t think we should be changing ... our system when it comes to [vote-by-mail] ballots,” Miami Commissioner Raquel Regalado said. “There is nothing wrong with it.”

Regalado believes SB 90 has the support to become law, so she is working on a push to amend the start date so it doesn’t affect the voters who will be participating in the fall elections.

SB90 also authorizes the canvassing of vote-by-mail ballots upon the completion of the public preelection testing of automatic tabulating equipment. Baxley filed SB 90 on Feb. 3, and on Friday it was included in the March 10 agenda of the Florida Senate’s Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability.

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About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.