When the vote is the only thing that can save our Democracy
The office of the Supervisor of Elections and its orientation to the voter with all the changes imposed by the Florida legislature
In the upcoming Primary Election to be held on August 23 and the General Election on November 8, what changes will be made in Broward County regarding early voting in terms of the total number of places, in the precise locations where voting will take place compared to in the past, and the total number of days and hours they will be open and operating before Election Day?
Early voting will continue to take place at 22 different locations, and we are still finalizing the exact locations. Check BrowardVotes.gov before going to an early voting site to make sure there haven't been any changes. There are a couple of changes that I can share now. Instead of Broward Health North, we will hold early voting at the Oveta McKeithen Recreation Complex in Deerfield Beach. Also, we will no longer have early voting at Coral Ridge Mall. We added the North Lauderdale Saraniero Library to the list this year. In August, we plan to have early voting for 9 days (Aug. 13-21) from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. In November, early voting will run for 14 days (Oct. 24-Nov. 6) from 7 :00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Regarding voting by mail, what are all the requirements that a voter must follow to request a ballot and the steps to return the ballot on time and have it counted?
Any registered voter can request a vote-by-mail ballot in Florida. Due to a recent change in Florida law, you must provide your driver's license or state identification number or the last 4 of your social security number (whichever we have on file) to request a vote-by-mail ballot. If you have received a vote-by-mail ballot in the past, please visit BrowardVotes.gov to make sure your vote-by-mail ballot application is still active. After the November 2022 election, Florida law requires us to start over with mail-in ballot applications for each election cycle. Therefore, after each major election (in November of even-numbered years) you must submit a new vote-by-mail application.
What about the drop boxes previously used by early voters? How many will there be, where will they be located, and when and during what hours can voters properly use them to return mail-in ballots?
Our self-addressed return envelopes are postage-paid and can be dropped off at any US Postal Service drop box if there is enough time for the ballot to reach the Supervisor of Elections before Election Day. There will be eight drop boxes available weekdays after we mail out vote-by-mail ballots. Early voting sites are also places where voters can drop off their vote-by-mail ballots in a drop box. However, it is very important for voters to remember that they cannot drop off vote-by-mail ballots at their polling place on Election Day. Voters should check BrowardVotes.gov for current drop box locations and hours of availability.
Regarding voter registration: Have there been any changes to the process? What are the various ways people can register to vote? What is the best way for voters to update their registration in case there have been changes, such as a change of address?
RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov is the easiest way to register or update your registration. Alternatively, there are several government agencies that will allow you to register to vote in person. Voters generally update their voter registration when they update their driver's license or state ID. At the same time, there are various government agencies that register you to vote in person. For example, any library in Broward County will allow you to do this in person. I always try to remind people to pay attention to their party affiliation whenever they update their voter registration. They may not be able to participate in partisan primaries if their party affiliation is incorrect.
What outreach efforts will your office undertake to encourage both voter registration and voter turnout in August and November 2022?
Our outreach efforts are extensive. We participate in community events, publish advertisements in newspapers, on the radio and on television. Voters can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok to receive reliable information about the upcoming elections.
Due to the proximity of the state elections, we contacted the office of the Supervisor of Elections in Broward directed by Joe Scott
What safeguards have been instituted to protect against any ballot design issues, such as those that plagued the 2000 presidential election in Palm Beach County and the 2018 US Senate election?
We have come a long way since the days of hanging chads. We are currently hiring a consultant with experience in ballot design to ensure everything is presented in a way that doesn't confuse people. We also share sample ballots with a larger segment of the community and seek feedback before finalizing the ballot design.
Do you anticipate having any problems finding part-time employees to work the polls during the upcoming election days in light of developments across the country since November 2020? How much will your office pay these workers and how many hours can they expect to work if they are interested in helping the Supervisor of Elections Office?
We are always looking to strengthen our pool of poll workers. We pay between $195 and $350 per day, depending on the role and the number of hours the worker needs. Some positions are only required for a few hours, others for a few weeks. For anyone interested in working at a polling place on Election Day, we start at 5:30 am and can't finish until after 8:00 pm That's a long day!
When first elected in November 2020, the Supervisor of Elections position was considered an uncontroversial ministerial and organizational role that helps form the backbone and basic structure of democracy. Today it has become a position that is vital to ensuring that democracy continues in this country. Is there any message in that sense that you would like to communicate?
Losing candidates have blamed the electoral system for their loss as long as democracy has existed. The only change from 2020 is that the loser who blames the electoral system has the biggest megaphone in the world. There has never been an election without irregularities and probably never will be. However, elections have never been conducted more professionally than they are today, and the development of standardized procedures has accelerated since 2020. We cannot allow minor issues, with no impact on the overall election result, to be used to reverse the will of the voters. If we take that path, democracy is over.