TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - On Thursday, the House Public Integrity and Elections Committee passed PCB PIE 3 (Senate companion is SB 524), a bill that would require stricter voter ID requirements for vote-by-mail ballot returns, without containing an option for voters who do not have a State of Florida driver’s license or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

This bill would create a duplicative police force to chase non-existent elections issues in Florida. It would also increase criminal penalties from a misdemeanor to a felony for: collecting more than two mail ballots other than the person’s own or that belonging to an immediate family member, or paying an initiative petition signature collector on a per signature basis.

Kirk Bailey, political director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today’s hearing with the following:

“This bill is a harmful continuation of Senate Bill 90 from the 2021 Legislative session. If passed, it would create an elections police force that can only be described as a solution in search of a problem. The handful of cases of intentional misconduct that have been prosecuted in the past year demonstrate that the existing system works. Creating this additional police force to chase non-existent elections issues is an unnecessary expense that will burden Florida's taxpayers and intimidate voters. We have real needs in Florida to address, and this is not one of them.

“Our freedom to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. If we truly want safe and accessible elections for all Floridians there are a number of common sense, pro-voter policies we can pass.

“We should be allowing eligible Floridians to register to vote up to and including Election Day, and make Election Day a state holiday so that no one has to miss work to vote. Policies that ensure that vote-by-mail ballots that are postmarked by election day are counted and make it more convenient for folks to register to vote. Instead, Gov. DeSantis and certain Florida lawmakers have decided to participate in the nationwide trend of attempting to make it more difficult to vote. This bill is bad for our democracy and should be rejected.”