Florida Governor Waives Election Laws in Hurricane-affected Areas

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an executive order to waive portions of Florida’s election law in response to Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm that devastated southwest Florida. The order comes after weeks of lobbying by voting rights groups and elections officials to make changes to ease voting in the aftermath of the disaster. DeSantis had previously expressed support for changes while also stating he wanted any emergency measures to be as small as possible.

The order allows Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties to implement emergency changes for the upcoming election. DeSantis’ order:

  • Allows the counties to extend early voting until Election Day and designate additional early voting locations;
  • Gives voters in Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties the ability to request that their mail-in ballots be sent to an address other than the address on their voter registration;
  • Provides for ballot drop boxes to be moved and polling locations to be consolidated as necessary and
  • Increases the pool of eligible poll workers to address any shortages.

While the order gives elections officials flexibility to respond to the disaster, the hurricane will still likely impact turnout in the affected areas.