WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Florida Department of State submitted a report to the Florida Legislature recommending legislative proposals to update the mail-in voting process. Senate Bill 524, enacted last year, instructed the Florida Department of State to study a proposal that would require all voters voting by mail to include an ID number with their ballots and submit a report with its recommendations by Feb. 1. However, based on the feedback of a bipartisan group of 14 county supervisors of elections and the department’s own review that identified “similar and additional considerations and challenges,” the department does not recommend requiring ID numbers on mail-in ballots.
While declining to recommend the use of ID numbers on mail-in ballots — a positive development for voters — the department does support updates to the mail-in ballot request process. For example, the department recommends that the Legislature create a uniform statewide application for mail-in ballots that asks for a voter’s driver’s license, state ID or social security number. Then, under the department’s proposal, county supervisors should be required to verify the driver’s license, ID or social security number in the ballot requests against their records and the state department of motor vehicles. Once verified, the supervisors would then be required to add the number to the voter’s record. The report also recommends requiring supervisors to verify a voter’s signature on their mail-in ballot application and eliminating the ability for voters to request mail-in ballots via telephone.