WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
State News

'All Voting Is Local,' Other Groups Pitch Expanded Early Voting In Florida For General Election

Florida Early Voting
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Poll workers wearing personal protective equipment wait for voters, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, at a poling station at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department in Miami. Monday marked the first day of early voting for the 2020 Primary Election in Miami-Date County and runs through Sunday, Aug. 16. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Early voting for the primary election is reaching its waning days in Florida. A coalition of groups is already stressing early voting ahead of the general election in November.

The organization All Voting Is Local bills itself as a nonpartisan campaign to “eliminate discriminatory barriers to voting.” On Wednesday, it teamed up with other groups like the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, as well as a former elections supervisor, to call for extended early voting for the general election.

Brad Ashwell is All Voting Is Local’s Florida Director. He says during early voting in the primary, not all Florida counties have allowed for the maximum time sites can be open.

“In Broward County, a county with a history of election problems, they’re only offering nine days of early voting and the minimum number of hours per day. Brevard is offering the minimum number of days and the minimum hours, except for the last five days, where they still fall below the maximum,” Ashwell said, rattling off several more counties he says aren’t providing the maximum window of time:

“Seminole County is offering the minimum days and hours, Lee County’s offering the minimum days and hours, Volusia is offering the minimum days and less than maximum hours, Sarasota is offering nine days, but still the minimum number of hours.”

He added that list “isn’t exhaustive.”

As Ashwell explained on the call, the maximum number of days for early voting in Florida counties is 14, and the maximum amount of hours per day is 12. The minimums are eight days, and eight hours.

Former Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho, who served in the role for 30 years, has been outspoken about voting access and elections security in his retirement. He joined All Voting Is Local’s press call Wednesday.

“Shortly after the March 17 presidential primary, Florida’s supervisors of elections took the unprecedented action of submitting a plan to handle the coronavirus, to Governor DeSantis,” Sancho said.

Sancho says the supervisors’ proposed plan was aimed at expanding the window for early voting in the general election. He co-signs the idea.

“This is an issue that can be accomplished with a 24-day window for voting, instead of forcing all the voters to crowd on one day,” Sancho said, referencing the supervisors’ request.

Following the conclusion of early voting in the primary, Ashwell says he intends to start up another conversation with elections supervisors to further expand early voting opportunities in November.

“After the primary’s over, we plan to speak with the supervisors about where they might consider placing additional sites,” Ashwell told media on the Zoom call.

As it stands, the mandatory early voting period for the 2020 general election runs from October 24-31.