James L. Rosica (@jlrosicaTBO) in Tallahassee
The chair of the Senate’s Ethics and Elections committee Monday postponed a bill that would, among other things, create an online voter registration system, saying he “didn’t want to deal with it today.”
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, couldn’t predict when the measure (SB 1660) would come back to the panel – if ever.
“When you see it on the calendar again, it’ll be coming back,” he said after the meeting. “I’m just not sure what we’re doing with that yet.”
Latvala said he wanted to consult further with House leadership and with Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
Another thing the bill would do is clarify current law that absentee ballots can be dropped off only at early voting sites, supervisor of elections’ offices and at their mailboxes at U.S. Post Offices.
Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark disagreed with a directive last year from Gov. Rick Scott’s secretary of state, Ken Detzner, saying other remote drop-offs couldn’t be used, citing security concerns.
Clark uses dropboxes at tax collector offices and county library branches.
Latvala has claimed she is pursuing her own agenda of voting by mail, which he says the Legislature has authorized only “in certain restricted ways,” not in all elections.
Clark says her method has increased turnout and reduced costs.
Latvala was asked if his concerns about Clark could be addressed “administratively” rather than by changing the law.
Last week, he said Clark could authorize more early voting sites on top of the few she normally uses, instead of using dropboxes.
“If she would assure me she’s going to open more early voting locations, yeah,” Latvala said.