Lawsuit seeks mail-in ballots for every voter

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Uncertainty over the health risks of voting in August and November have three citizens suing to make sure every registered voter gets a mail-in ballot and the state pays the return postage.

Lawsuit being filed to get every person in Florida a mail-in ballot with the state paying for return postage. (Pixaby)

Many elections supervisors are already reaching out to voters and asking if they want a mail-in ballot.

The lawsuit was filed by a retired sheriff's deputy and two others who work helping senior citizens.

It asserts requiring voters to request a mail ballot, rather than just sending one, and requiring them to pay the postage is asking too much.

“Many people don’t have computers,” said attorney Harvey Sepler, who is representing the three plaintiffs. “They don’t want to leave their homes because of the virus, because they don’t want to expose themselves. That means they don’t want to leave to request a mail-in ballot.”

The suit has been assigned to a judge, but no hearing has been set.

The lawsuit comes as a poll by a group calling itself Secure Democracy found overwhelming national support for everyone getting a mail ballot.

However, the same poll found 93% want polling places to be open as well.

“And in-person voting is going to look different,” said Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer, who also serves as President of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

Supervisors have already asked the Governor for the authority to consolidate polling places.

“We’re not going to be letting 30, 40 people into polling sites at the same time,” said Latimer.

Most voters are already getting cards asking if they want a mail ballot.

In 2018, a third of the ballots were cast by mail, but in this past Presidential Preference Primary that jumped to more than 50% in some counties.

And so far, the state hasn’t responded to two requests from supervisors.

They want more days of early voting and longer times to mail and process ballots.

“And I’m going to go back and check and make sure I had the right address because we haven’t heard anything,” said Latimer.

And remember, you can request a mail ballot, and as long as you don’t return it you can still vote in person on election day or early voting.

You can also return the ballot in person until the polls close.