By: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, represented South Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989-2019, and currently co-chairs the Secure Election Project.
Every voter in Florida deserves to be able to vote in a safe and secure manner. In addition to personal safety, voters want the assurance that their vote is counted. Likewise, elected officials rely on elections being honest and fair – especially in competitive political environments.
Public office holders trust election administrators to run our elections so that, when a winner is declared, we can leave the campaign behind and get to the business representing our communities. Voters and the representatives that they vote into office pay close attention when election administrators warn of potential problems. Our right to vote depends on ensuring the electoral process is as smooth and secure as possible.
Recently, the Florida Supervisors of Elections raised the alarm about running an election during a pandemic. Their concerns are valid and merit careful consideration. They state, in part, that the presidential primaries in March saw “significant challenges with polling places becoming unavailable, difficulty in acquiring hand sanitizer and other supplies, and substantial numbers of poll workers deciding not to work, many at the last minute.” While these issues didn’t prevent the primary election from being run successfully, the general election is much larger and more complicated. In 2016, more than twice as many Floridians voted in the general election than in the Republican and Democratic primaries combined.