PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - June 17, 2021 


A perfect storm is putting a strain on blood-bank supplies; Congress approves Juneteenth as a national holiday.


2021Talks - June 17, 2021 


VP Harris meets with Texas lawmakers; Congress passes Juneteenth bill; Senate holds hearing on Women's Health Protection Act; and advocates rally for paid leave.

Despite Smooth Elections, FL Bill Adds Restrictions to Vote-By-Mail

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to www.newsservice.org
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

Current Florida law prohibits offering voters assistance within 100 feet of polling locations. HB 7041 would expand that zone to 150 feet and prohibits giving "any item" to voters. (Florida Capitol/Trimmel Gomes)
Current Florida law prohibits offering voters assistance within 100 feet of polling locations. HB 7041 would expand that zone to 150 feet and prohibits giving "any item" to voters. (Florida Capitol/Trimmel Gomes)
 By Trimmel Gomes - Producer, Contact
April 2, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - New restrictions to voting by mail in Florida could endanger the vote of anyone who chooses to use that option, according to voting-rights advocates.

Even though Gov. Ron DeSantis touted Florida's November elections as a model for the nation, he's backing changes by way of House Bill 7041 and Senate Bill 90.

The bills would require voters to make a new mail-in ballot request for each election cycle. And it would stop an election supervisor from sending a mail-in ballot without a request.

Brad Ashwell, Florida state director with the group "All Voting is Local," said the bills also force a supervisor to only use the most recent signature of a voter on file to verify, which is against the current standard.

"The most recent one's a scribble and the ten before that all match perfectly the one on file, they'd be able to say, 'Well, oh yes, this is the person,'" said Ashwell. "This would eliminate that capability, and will lead to voters getting rejected and getting disenfranchised."

The bills are seeing bipartisan opposition from election supervisors, but are advancing nonetheless in the Republican-controlled Legislature. The Senate version is next up in the Rules Committee on Tuesday, its final stop before a floor vote.

The bills would ban the use of drop boxes to return mail-in ballots. Unlike Georgia's GOP-led voting overhaul law, Ashwell said he thinks Florida's current approach is more piecemeal - and underhanded.

"It seems like they are setting up a process with little 'gotcha' provisions," said Ashwell. "And there will be lots of ways for voters to be challenged, and this is exactly the opposite way that we need to be going."

Critics say the proposed changes could reduce voter participation in 2022.

A study commissioned by All Voting is Local found that, in the 47,000 vote-by-mail ballots flagged for rejection, first-time voters, younger voters, and voters of color were disproportionately affected.

On the flip side, the study showed three in four of those flagged were able to resolve issues through the state's current cure process.

Best Practices