DeSantis wants voters’ signatures to match

Governor DeSantis’s signature has evolved over time. Yet, he wants voter’s signatures to always be accurately matching.
According to handwriting experts,  no two signatures from one person are the same. It’s why Florida election officials for years have used all the signatures at their disposal. Sometimes, more than a dozen when they authenticate a voter’s signature on a mail-in ballot.

Governor DeSantis wants to rein in that long-standing practice. Vote-by-mail signatures “must match the most recent signature on file” with the state Department of Elections, DeSantis declared in February. A bill moving through the Florida Senate would make that the law.

Some election officials say limiting signature samples could make it harder to authenticate the identities of voters who choose to cast their ballot by mail.

Signatures change over time, they say, and are often affected by the choice of pen, the writing surface, fatigue, or a person’s health. A new requirement for a one-to-one match could lead to more rejected ballots.

Experts and election officials who reviewed Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature history for the Times said some of the modifications in his penmanship could have posed trouble for election workers, especially if constrained to one point of comparison.

In a handful of instances, it is possible the ballot could have been rejected, they said.

“It shows why it is better to have multiple signatures for review than to have one,” said Tom Vastrick, a forensic document examiner based in Apopka.

The proposal is part of a package of voting legislation that Florida Republicans are pushing this session to the state’s election system, even though DeSantis praised Florida for how it conducted its 2020 election. “The way Florida did it, I think inspires confidence, I think that’s how elections should be run,” DeSantis said at the time.

Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida, studies the application of voter signature matching laws. His research has shown counties often apply signature matching rules unevenly, and students and minorities are more likely to have their ballot rejected because of a mismatch.

“It’s really silly you would want to limit the signature to compare,” Smith said. DeSantis’ “own signatures show the reason for that.”

Instead of limiting signatures or relying on a digital facsimile, it would be more helpful to have people sign their name 10 times in ink when they register to vote, Vastrick said.

In response to these concerns, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia last week tweaked his voting bill to allow election officials to use a signature on file from the past four years. Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, said the limitation is needed “to make sure there wasn’t signature shopping where you would have 20 different signature iterations going back 20 years.”

State Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat, said the amended bill is “better than what we had before” but she added: “It’s trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.”

“Our poll workers have been trained to use multiple signatures,” she said, “and it seems wholly inefficient to be changing the procedures for them.”

According to Governor Ron DeSantis,  these measures are needed for election security. He has said less about why he wants to change the signature matching rules.

“If there need to be ways to bolster the signature verification, then we need to do that as well,” he said in February in West Palm Beach.

Smith said limiting signatures could have the opposite effect on election security. Fewer signatures mean less evidence to verify a positive match.

“If you’re interested in election integrity, wouldn’t you want more signatures to validate the one that is coming in?” Smith said. “Unless that is really not your intention.”

Ban on giving food or water to electors


Florida may ban outside bunches from giving food or water to electors remaining inside 150 feet of surveying places, an arrangement that is attracting correlations with a lot more extensive restriction remembered for a hostile political race bill as of late sanctioned in close by Georgia.

The top state House Republican who is pushing the enactment, FL HB7041 (21R), shielded the action on Monday, taking note of that state law as of now incorporates a “no-sales zone” close surveying places that bar crusades and political gatherings from moving toward citizens.

“It’s impacting the vote and that is the thing that we are attempting to stop since they are an enraptured crowd,” Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), the bill support, and the previous seat of the Republican Party of Florida, said at a meeting Monday. “The 150 feet territory should be a protected zone where they won’t be troubled by a mission.”

Ingoglia additionally said that nothing in the proposition would keep nearby political race managers from giving out water to individuals in line in the event that they needed it.

“I simply figure it ought to be a component of the public authority,” he said.

President Joe Biden a week ago completely scrutinized the broad new political decision measure endorsed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, alluding to the arrangement that banished somebody from offering water to electors as an “outrage.”

Georgia’s new law indicates that nobody can offer food or water “inside 25 feet of any citizen of elector remaining in line to cast a ballot at any surveying place” or inside 150 feet of the external edge of any surveying place.

Ingoglia said he has no designs to apply the limitation outside the “no requesting zone” and added that surveying places shouldn’t have long queues given the various ways the state permits individuals to cast a ballot, including early democratic and vote-via mail.

Notwithstanding a long-standing for messed up races, including the scandalous 2000 official relate, Florida’s balloting ran easily a year ago. At that point, President Donald Trump won the state by an agreeable edge by Florida guidelines.

Due to some extent to the Covid-19 pandemic, almost 44% of all Florida citizens cast polling forms via mail in 2020. Liberals, who have generally followed Republicans in utilizing early polling forms, overwhelmed Republicans this time around. More than 2.18 million Democrats utilized early voting forms contrasted with 1.5 million Republican electors.

However, Trump reliably reprimanded remote democratic as he rehashed unjustifiable allegations about elector misrepresentation. At first, Republican administrative pioneers said they didn’t see a requirement for any enormous changes. In any case, Gov. Ron DeSantis in late February approached legislators to pass a decision bill.

The state Senate has proposed a bill that would boycott the utilization of drop boxes, which permit electors to turn in their early polling forms straightforwardly to political race workplaces as opposed to utilizing the U.S. Postal Service. The Senate bill would likewise compel all citizens to resubmit vote-via mail demands for the 2022 decisions while simultaneously restricting the span of future solicitations.

Ingoglia’s enactment would keep drop encloses in place, however, it would require electors dropping off polling forms to introduce ID to utilize them. The action would likewise restrict who can drop off a voting form to a close relative or somebody who lives at a similar location.

Dark ministers assembled a week ago at the Capitol to ensure the forthcoming bills, saying they were intended to stifle minority citizens. Popularity-based officials have additionally completely impacted the political race proposition.

State Rep. Tracie Davis, a Jacksonville Democrat who used to work in the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office, called the restriction on giving out food and water inside the no-requesting zone as “making pointless obstacles and superfluous weights.”

Yet, Davis added that gatherings have regularly known about the zone and worked around it previously. She said she anticipated zeroing in on what she called more “intolerable” segments of the bill that get serious about remote democracy.

Fried charged as Black pastors call voters bill racist


Bills to restrict vote-by-mail and tighten other voting rules are racist, voter suppression attempts, a coalition of Black pastors, voting groups, and others including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried charged Thursday.

Fried joined the Equal Ground Action Fund protest and news conference on the steps of the Old Capitol Thursday. She and other speakers denounced SB 90 from Ocala Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley and HB 7041 from Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican, and urged the sponsors to withdraw the legislation.

Fried said the Legislature “is doing everything it can to suppress votes.”

“What this bill does is silence those voices. This bill does nothing good. It silences people who need a voice,” Fried said. “We must stand united to fight for this freedom.”

Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, did not explicitly charge that the bills were racist. But others at the event did, saying the bills’ purpose is to suppress voting in communities of color, voters who tend to support Democrats.

One pastor also vowed people would return to the streets if necessary to fight against voter suppression.

Fried and the Revs. Derrick McRae of Orlando, R.B. Holmes of Tallahassee, and Reginald Gundy of Jacksonville were joined by representatives of the ACLU of Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund of Florida, and other church, voting, and civil rights groups.

All insisted the bills could not be justified as responses to election fraud because Florida just completed what everyone agreed was the most-secure, smoothest, problem-free election in memory.

Therefore, they argued, the Republican majority designed the bills bills to suppress votes from voters of color, low-income voters, and disabled voters who heavily rely on vote-by-mail and early voting.

The two bills would shorten vote-by-mail request applications from covering two election cycles to just covering the immediate election cycle, meaning millions of voters would have to re-apply every two years instead of every four. They would eliminate or restrict the use of vote-by-mail drop boxes, which became popular last year as people sought to avoid crowds during the height of the coronavirus crisis. The bills would eliminate or restrict the ability to have others turn in ballots for them. The bills would also tighten rules for how voters may identify themselves.

Supporters contend the changes are necessary because abuses are possible under current law and have been seen in other states. Specifically, they warn against “ballot harvesting,” partisan operatives going door-to-door to show people how to vote, in exchange for turning in the mail ballots.

Those at Thursday’s conference weren’t buying it.

“We understand that this process seems to be targeted against communities of color,” said McRae, president of the African-American Council of Christian Clergy and pastor of the Experience Christian Center in Orlando.

Gundy, Florida chair of the African American Ministers in Action, pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and representing Faith in Public Life Action Fund, went further, calling the measure “a racist bill” intent on reducing the Black vote.

“Yes, we’ll adjust. Yes, we’ll get to the polls. Yes, whatever suppression you put out there, we’ll find a way to get around it,” Gundy said. “But why create a racist bill — that’s what it is — that will suppress people from going to the polls?”

Gundy warned the bills could spur another round of protests.

“We’ve been told we have to obey just law. But we have not been told we have to obey unjust law. If that means we have to get back in the streets, we will. If that means we have to do what we need to do to get you to listen to us, we will,” Gundy said.

He called Baxley out by name. Gundy said he accepted that Baxley is a man of faith, and would pray for him to conclude that the bill is a mistake and withdraw it.

“You, Brother Baxley, by doing that, prepare to stand before God some day and say I did what was right,” Gundy said. “Brother Baxley, let me tell you what I want you to know. We love you. We don’t hate you. We need you.”