U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is doubling down on his proposal to reform voting by mail.
Back in September, Scott brought out the “Verifiable, Orderly, & Timely Election Results (VOTER) Act” which, he insists, will “establish uniform standards for vote-by-mail systems across the country and ensure the timely and efficient counting of ballots, with important safeguards to prevent fraud.”
Scott’s office offered some of the rationales behind his proposal.
“Currently, mail-based absentee voting in federal elections is governed by a patchwork of state laws, with varying deadlines for requesting, returning and receiving mailed ballots. 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 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’s office noted.
“Voting is fundamental to our democracy and it is a sacred right that we must protect and cherish,” Scott said when he introduced the bill. “I always say we need 100 percent participation and 0 percent fraud in our elections. Florida has absentee voting and it works well. But the standards for mail-in voting vary widely across the country, causing confusion and a distrust in the system. We need standards nationwide 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. The VOTER Act will create uniform standards for voting-by-mail, provide important protections against fraud, and make sure we have a timely federal election result. We need to pass this bill now to ensure a smooth and secure election.”
The bill would create standards for voting by mail in federal elections, including having by-mail ballots requested 21 days before the election and having them turned in when polls close on Election Day. Scott’s proposal would also make voters attest they are the person to whom the ballot was sent and that they will also not vote in person. Under Scott’s proposal, all mail-in ballots must be counted within 24 hours of when polls close.
This week, Scott showcased the proposal, penning a piece that ran at Fox News’ website on Tuesday.
“Right now, we are seeing what happens when that trust disappears and the legality and integrity of our elections remains uncertain. The American people do not have confidence in our electoral process, resulting in an increasingly fractured America,” Scott wrote.
“This is not what America is about, and now more than ever, we have to work to protect the integrity of our elections and then make changes necessary to preserve our democracy,” he continued before pointing to the current pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic changed everything this year, including how we vote. We saw an unprecedented amount of mail-in voting across the nation. Currently, the process for mail-in voting varies by state, with different deadlines for requesting, returning and receiving mailed ballots,” Scott wrote before showcasing his bill.
“We need standards nationwide to ensure voters decide the outcomes of elections. My VOTER Act would ensure the security, reliability and orderly conduct of elections by creating nationwide standards for vote-by-mail systems. Voter ID is an important part of that, and states should not allow same-day voter registration, which is a recipe for fraud,” Scott insisted. “The VOTER Act also protects the integrity of federal elections with fraud prevention measures and requires all eligible ballots to be counted and reported within 24 hours after polls close on Election Day to promote certainty in the outcome of a federal election. Ballots should be submitted before the polls close on Election Day.
“We live in the greatest country in the world where absolutely anything is possible. We must never give up on protecting the sacred right to vote,” he concluded. “Passing my VOTER Act is a common-sense step we can take right now to ensure any future election is decided in a timely manner by the American people. This is not a partisan bill in the least, it’s merely a common sense and fair approach.”
Scott’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee back in September. So far, there are no cosponsors in the Senate. There is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.