The Beaches Activists Movement (BAM) joined a coalition of state advocacy organizations in urging Governor Ron DeSantis to extend early voting days for upcoming elections in response to COVID-19 concerns. The group also asked for a statewide awareness campaign to highlight measures taken to keep voters and poll workers safe.
In a letter to the Secretary of State, the group called for an Executive Order to extend and fund the early voting period – action the Governor declined to take after a request by the state’s 67 Supervisors of Elections (SOEs). The SOEs submitted a list of strategies for improving safety and efficiency in what is expected to be a record turn-out for elections in August and November.
The Governor agreed to several SOE requests including earlier canvassing of mail-in ballots, expansion of early voting times and locations, the authorization of school closings and incentives for state workers to volunteer as poll workers, and the matching of PPE, sanitizer, and cleaning supplies expenses, but failed to address the early voting period.
“Floridians deserve safe and easy access to the polls. An Executive Order that extended early voting days and funded their expense, as requested by the SOEs, would amplify the message that our Governor and Secretary of State have taken every opportunity to ensure safe and effective Florida elections,” states the letter.
A public awareness campaign on safety measures implemented at polling sites would reassure voters and help to guard against the use of fear tactics to suppress turn-out, the letter advises.