A bill that would allow poll workers to ask voters for “additional information” when they present their mandatory photo IDs remove a provision prohibiting the use of the address appearing on the identification presented by an elector as a basis for confirming the elector’s legal residence. moved through a state Senate committee today.
Supervisors of elections in the state have said that passing the bill would make election day voting faster. Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho explained to committee members today that precincts could be facing longer lines come election day because there are fewer voting locations and more voters.
But state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, said the bill would add another barrier to voting, prompting him to introduce an amendment that would stop poll workers from seeking information by swiping a driver’s license.
Sancho spoke out against amending that part of the bill because the measure as is would make things faster during elections. He said that by confirming an address in person things would move more efficiently.
Sancho told The Florida Independent that Negron’s amendment would stop poll workers in 44 counties from accessing “somewhere between 15 and 17 million dollars of equipment which is designed to conveniently get the voters through the process more accurately, more reliable.”
According to Sancho, in the past, poll workers would have to flip through binders that are “telephone book”-length. The new database is connected to a unique number in a driver’s license, making it much easier for people with driver’s licenses to vote.
Negron said during the committee meeting that voting should not be connected to a driver’s license at all, arguing that voting is a right — whereas driving is not.
Sancho told legislators that the bill without Negron’s amendment would allow more people to vote when lines get long.
“For the Republicans, that have been raising the cry of voter fraud all year, to all of a sudden not want to use a tool that virtually guarantees there can’t be voter fraud is ironic at best and ludicrous at worst,” Sancho said.
Sancho’s testimony took a turn when he was asked about voter fraud. Sancho has long opposed the state’s voting law from last year and has disputed claims that the state was facing a voter fraud problem.
State Sen. Don Gaetz, R- Destin, said he was not planning to vote for Negron’s amendment but would do so in response to Sancho’s testimony, even though Sancho’s testimony featured his opposition to Negron’s amendment. Gaetz also sarcastically added that he was “relieved” that Sancho reports voter fraud is not a problem in the state.
Negron’s amendment eventually failed to pass.
Without Negron’s amendent, the Senate rules committee passed the bill. According to a staff analysis, it would fix “a glitch in polling place voter intake procedures, removing a prohibition that prevents poll workers from using the address on a voter’s photo identification (I.D.) to confirm the voter’s legal residence.”