Media Contact

ACLU of Florida media office, 

June 19, 2020

MIAMI - This week, Gov. DeSantis granted limited flexibility to Supervisors of Elections to begin processing mail ballots earlier than otherwise allowed under Florida law. This emergency order falls extremely short of the supervisors urgent request for leeway to administer elections amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

In response, the ACLU of a Florida issued the following statement:

"Once again, Gov. DeSantis has demonstrated that he is committed to making voting difficult for Floridians. Rather than address any of the genuine challenges that could deprive eligible Floridians of their right to vote, Gov. DeSantis’s Executive Order makes only the most trivial adjustments imaginable. COVID-19 continues to run rampant throughout the state – disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities and communities of color in ways that the governor continues to deny or dismiss – with implications for how elections are administered, at the same time that voter interest in the election is high. 

"Gov. DeSantis’s inaction means that many voters could be forced to risk exposure to the virus, or that participation in our democracy could decrease. Neither outcome is acceptable, and neither outcome is necessary. Rather than continuing the battle against voting rights that has defined his tenure thus far, Gov. DeSantis should immediately act to ensure that no voter must choose between casting a ballot and risking exposure to COVID-19. He should issue an additional executive order that expands early voting, that requires vote by mail ballot request forms be distributed to all eligible voters, that provides paid postage for vote by mail ballots, and ensures that every vote is counted. 

"Anything less fails to rise to the moment, fails to protect the right to vote, and fails our democracy."