State stance on ballot drop boxes draws fire

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is telling county elections supervisors that ballot collection boxes outside early voting sites have to be staffed, but the local officials’ attorney said Florida law doesn’t include any such requirement.

Department of State General Counsel Brad McVay sent an email to supervisors on Wednesday — just days before the vast majority of the state’s 67 counties begin early voting Monday — that he said was aimed at answering questions raised by local officials about drop boxes.

According to McVay’s interpretation of state law and a rule, drop boxes have to be manned by an elections official or an armed law enforcement officer at all times.

“This requirement serves a necessary purpose,” he wrote. “The statute requires that drop boxes remain secure from those who intend to do harm to the boxes (or the contents within them). A person onsite can prevent foreign substances or small incendiary devices (like firecrackers) from being thrown into the drop box; video monitoring cannot do the same.”

But Ron Labasky, general counsel of the Florida Supervisors of Elections association, told his clients state law doesn’t require the drop boxes to be monitored in person.

“Drop boxes

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