LAUDERHILL, Fla. – As the Nov. 2 special election nears, there are some things you need to know before dropping off your ballot.
That election, which in Broward involves the primary in the race to fill the seat of the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, will be held under some new rules after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 90 into law earlier this year.
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott said that in the past drop boxes were available 24/7, and all were under surveillance and monitored.
But now a security monitor has to be physically standing by the box at all times.
“Technically we have to have somebody there at all times, but there is a fine imposed, a $25,000 fine if there is ever not someone there, so basically we need two people in case anyone has to step away for any kind of reason, if they need to use the restroom or something like that,” Scott said.
Scott said that can cause the cost of elections to go up. Because, for example, few people are using the drop-off boxes between certain hours, then taxpayer money is being wasted on monitors.
“We are trying to figure out what the right balance is of making these drop boxes available at the times the public wants to have the drop boxes available,” Scott said. “We really are encouraging people, if you want to drop off your, ballot come down during office hours, which is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Scott said eliminating 24/7 drop-off locations could also be problematic for voters.
“Downtown there is parking garages and you have to pay and it’s a little bit more of a struggle to get to the office and get back to your car, and it was a huge convenience just to have a dropbox sitting there on the side of the road where you could just pull up drop off your ballot and pull away,” he said.
Another big change in the law is that voters must request vote-by-mail ballots every two years.
After the Nov. 2 primary, the special general election in Broward is Jan. 11 to fill Hastings’ seat.
Miami-Dade County has a number of municipal races on Nov. 2.