Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Florida legislature approves vote-by-mail

After years of similar attempts to do so, Florida’s State House and Senate have approved legislation (House Bill 361 and Senate Bill 112) providing Sunshine State voters the ability to cast ballots however they choose to do so. Both bills passed each chamber unanimously: the Senate bill on Jan. 15, 34-0; the House bill on Feb. 24, 117-0.

The measure now will be sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Once enacted, the language change will take effect on July 1.

Specifically, the bills replace the term “absentee ballot” with “vote by mail,” making it clear that voting by mail is not just for those who might be out of town on Election Day, but for anyone who wishes to vote by mail.

Historically, the term “absentee ballot” has been considered misleading because anyone can request a ballot by mail; however, voters in many states traditionally have had to provide some type of justification to qualify for absentee voting.

Passage of the legislation was helped in part by activists with the Florida State Association of Letter Carriers, who met with members of the legislature, spoke at committee hearings, and worked with county executives and alongside local AFL-CIO representatives to help move this bill through the legislative process.

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