Sen. Rick Scott introduces bill requiring mail-in ballots be counted within 24 hours of Election Day
TALLAHASSEE - Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation last week to establish federal standards regarding the counting of ballots, ahead of the upcoming presidential election between Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump.
The Verifiable, Orderly, & Timely Election Results (VOTER) Act would create standards for various vote-by-mail systems that exist across the country and would require all eligible ballots to be counted and reported within 24 hours after polls close on Election Day, according to a press release from Scott's office.
If the bill became law, it would require voting precincts to report the total number of in-person and mail-in ballots they received -- one hour after polls close -- to identify "the total universe of votes to be counted in the election."
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Mail-in ballots must be requested at least 21 days before a federal election and would have to be returned and received by the time polls close on Election Day, if the measure passed.
The bill would also prohibit the possession of another person’s mail-in ballot, with exceptions for certain family members and caregivers.
Scott cited varying state laws as the reason behind his push for federal intervention and claimed the integrity of the election can only be maintained if uniform standards are set.
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"As states pursue the expanded use of mail-in ballots, the VOTER Act will ensure the security, reliability and orderly conduct of federal elections," the press release reads. "The bill also creates a deadline for state election officials to tally and report the election results to avoid prolonged uncertainty in the outcome of a federal election."
Scott said he has faith in the state's absentee ballot system but remains skeptical of the main-in balloting process, claiming it to be fraught with chaos adding to the possibility that the Supreme Court could decide the presidential election for the second time in two decades.
“I always say we need 100 percent participation and zero percent fraud in our elections. Florida has absentee voting and it works well," he added. "But the standards for mail-in voting vary widely across the country, causing confusion and a distrust in the system."
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The former governor who has been the junior senator from Florida since 2019 also said that nationwide standards are needed "to ensure voters decide the outcomes of elections – not the courts. We can’t wait weeks or months to find out the results of this election or any election in our future – a scenario made all the more likely by the Democrats’ push to change laws late in the game and eliminate standards that protect against fraud."