The Florida Legislature is currently in session through May 3, 2019, and the Lee County Elections Office is anxiously monitoring their actions. The 2018 General Election generated several measures on the agenda of the Legislature that will change some laws and redefine the conduct of elections in this state.
Given the challenges and historic significance of the 2018 General Election, Supervisors of Elections across the state of Florida performed remarkably. Because of this overall success, Florida’s Supervisors of Elections are hoping for minor changes, and not a complete overhaul of the voting process.
Decisions made by the Legislature affect many areas of the elections process. When the 2019 legislative session ends, we hope to have definitive information about how to proceed in the 2020 election cycle. I am confident that most changes will be good for the citizens of Lee County and Florida.
Florida has some of the strictest election laws in the United States, and many other states want to copy our system. Our voting systems are safe, secure, accurate, and verifiable, as proven by the statewide recount in November 2018. Numerous jurisdictions around the nation are in the process of purchasing new paper-based voting systems similar to the system used in this state.
We are already planning and preparing for the 2020 election cycle. Voting by mail is the most popular way to vote, and we expect the demand to increase. In the 2018 General Election, our Vote-by-Mail Department processed over 150,000 returned ballots. For future elections, we plan to implement an efficient automated processing method for accepting returned mail ballots. The new process will be effective in saving time and money long term.
There are also plans for some physical transformations to our Main Office location that will feature additional security measures and streamline the tabulation process for Vote-by-Mail ballots.
In addition to preparing for the 2020 election cycle, our staff is taking advantage of educational and certification opportunities available to election professionals.
These are very exciting times at Lee County Elections, and I’m excited about the future!