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As state legislators move toward restricting mail voting in Florida, it seems fitting to take stock of how it’s going in the Sunshine State’s mail voting capitol, Pinellas County.
Nowhere is mail voting so embraced by voters of all parties than Pinellas, where more than 60 percent of all ballots in last year’s election were by mail. Statewide, 43 percent were mail.
“We had a flawless election in Florida. It worked very well, and mail ballots contributed to that. You do take pressure off of election day by allowing voters to cast mail ballots. In Pinellas County we were able to release 82 percent of election results by 7:05, and we had 100 percent precincts reported by 8:17 p.m,” Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus said in the latest episode of Political Party with Adam Smith. “That makes voters confident in the results of the election, which you didn’t see in some other states.”
That level of mail voting may be an anomaly because of Covid in 2020, but Marcus, a Republican, said there’s no question voters appreciate the convenience mail voting and the integrity of the voting process is secure.
Marcus and the rest of Florida’s 67 elections chiefs oppose the bills in the state House and Senate, which advocates say is aimed at preventing voter fraud. There is no problem with voter fraud, elections officials say, and the legislation would dramatically increase the costs of elections, expose voters’ personal information to theft, and making voting more difficult for Floridians.
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