Election legislation roundup: Florida State Senate

As of March 12, Ballotpedia has tracked 11 election-related bills in the Florida State Senate since the beginning of the year. Of the 11, Ballotpedia tracked four from March 6-12. Democrats sponsored three, while Republicans sponsored one. The four bills are:   

  • FL S1560: Limited English-proficient Voter Assistance, Sen. Victor Torres (D).  
  • FL S1622: District School Board Elections, Sen. Joseph Gruters (R). 
    • Specifies that if there are no more than two candidates, not including write-in candidates, qualifying for a district school board election, the election will be placed on the general election ballot.
    • Specifies that if there is a primary election, the two candidates receiving the most votes will advance to the general election.
    • Specifies what to do in the case of a tie.
  • FL S1696: Restoration of Voting Rights Information on Sentencing Scoresheets, Sen. Shevrin Jones (D). 
    • Prohibits those convicted of a felony or seemed by the state to be mentally incompetent from voting or holding office until restoration of civil rights or removal of disability.
    • Specifies that voting rights are restored for those convicted of a felony when all terms of a sentence are completed, including parole and probation.
    • Prohibits anyone convicted of murder or felony sexual offense from voting until restoration of civil rights.
    • Stipulates that to complete all terms of a sentence, and to having voting rights restored, a person must fulfill a list of requirements and outlines all of the requirements.
    • Specifies that a term to be completed is deemed completed if the court modifies the original sentencing order to no longer require completion of the term.
    • Clarifies that the department will review information related to a voter registration as a part of restoration of rights to determine whether the person is eligible to vote and specifies that the supervisor of elections may request additional information to make a determination, and also specifies that a provision susceptible to differing interpretations must be construed in favor of the registrant.
  • FL S1668: Restoration of Voting Rights, Tracie Davis (D). 
    • Requires the Department of State to adopt procedures for reviewing information about deceased, mentally incapacitated, and convicted felon individuals who are ineligible to be registered voters by January 31, 2024.
    • Outlines procedures for removing someone from the statewide voter registration list, and notifying the person, if they are deemed ineligible.
    • Requires an explanation of how to have voting rights restored in the notification, including contact information for the appropriate individual.
    • Outlines what constitutes an affirmative defense in a voting fraud crime related to voting or registering when ineligible.

During the week of March 6-12, Ballotpedia tracked 27 Senate election-related bills nationally. As of March 12, Ballotpedia has tracked 659 Senate bills nationally. Ballotpedia tracked the most Senate bills this year in the New York State Senate with 120, while Ballotpedia tracked the fewest Senate bills in Louisiana, Massachusetts, and West Virginia with zero.

As of March 12, Ballotpedia has tracked 356 Senate bills in Democratic trifectas and 230 Senate bills in Republican trifectas. A trifecta is when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Ballotpedia has tracked 73 Senate bills in states where neither party holds trifecta control.

The Florida Senate is scheduled to be in session from March 7 to May 5 this year. In 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 16 Senate bills related to election administration. Four of these bills passed both chambers and three were enacted into law. Florida is a Republican trifecta.

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