Florida Democratic Chair Terrie Rizzo today praised a directive from Secretary of State Laurel Lee that will allow local Supervisors of Elections to place early voting sites on college campuses throughout Florida for the 2020 election. The decision provided clarity for these sites which had previously been disputed in 2014 by then-Secretary of State Ken Detzner alleging inadequate required parking at each college campus voting site and which prompted the League of Women Voters and other groups to challenge the parking decision in court.
“We are glad to see this decision open the way for more early voting locations on college campuses. College students deserve to have early voting sites available to them as do other voting populations and the strict interpretation of the parking requirement was an artificial barrier to voter participation. Of course in this current climate of coronavirus, we hope everyone will vote by mail as much as possible and adhere to safe practices for any in person election activities.”
Secretary Lee said that the law “does not mean that every early voting site must have a certain number of non permitted parking sites available.” The letter from the Secretary went on to say, “There is nothing in Florida law that prohibits the use of on campus sites for early voting, provided that the requirements of Section 101.657(1)(a) are otherwise met…In sum, Section 101.657 (1)(a) should be read to permit supervisors of elections to place early voting locations on college and university campuses, consistent with the purpose of each county having a network or combination of early voting sites placed so as to provide all voters in the county an equal opportunity to cast a ballot.”