Central Florida leaders discuss changes, security ahead of 2020 elections

Ballot photos allowed; no solicitation zones added in Florida

County leaders talk changes, security ahead of 2020 elections
County leaders talk changes, security ahead of 2020 elections

ORLANDO, Fla. – Election leaders in Orange and Osceola counties held a briefing Wednesday to discuss law changes and cybersecurity ahead of what’s expected to be a busy election year.

With voters casting their ballots for president in November, elevated turnout is expected at the three elections scheduled for 2020.

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said voters should be aware of several law changes that went into effect at the beginning of the year.

During early voting and on election day, there will now be a 150-foot no solicitation zone at voting sites.

Also new this year, voters are allowed to take pictures at the voting booth, but those images are restricted to only that voter's ballot.

One issue that is still tied up the courts is Amendment 4, which was passed in 2018 and surrounds the restoration of the voting rights of felons.

“The question is, what is the process for verifying the information on an individual and that’s got to be answered?” Cowles said.

Cybersecurity was another big issued that was discussed during the briefing. Osceola County Supervisor of Elections Mary Jane Arrington said the threat of election hacking is why computers aren’t used to cast a ballot.

"Every voter in the state of Florida votes on a paper ballot and we can sit down the day after the election if we need to and count those again," Arrington said.

Voters in Florida will next cast their ballot in the Presidential Preference Primary, which is March 17. The deadline to register to vote in that election is February 18.

IMPORTANT ELECTION DATES

Presidential Preference Primary

Election Day: March 17, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Deadline to Register to Vote: February 18

Vote-by-mail Ballots: February 6

Early Voting Orange: March 2 - 15, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Early Voting Osceola: March 2 - 15, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Primary Election

Election Day: August 18, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Deadline to Register to Vote: July 20

Vote-by-mail Ballots: August 8 by 5 p.m.

Early Voting Orange: August 3 - 16, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Early Voting Osceola: August 3 - 16, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

General Election

Election Day: November 3, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Deadline to Register to Vote: October 5

Vote-by-mail Ballots: October 24 by 5 p.m.

Early Voting Orange: October 19 - November 1, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Early Voting Osceola: October 19 - November 1, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Rules

150-foot no solicitation zone

Voters can take pictures of ballot only (no other photography allowed)

Drop-boxes at Osceola and Orange early voting locations only

Must bring 2 forms of ID, photo, signature. Examples: Driver license, credit card with signature and photo, passport, concealed weapons permit


About the Authors:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.

Tiffany joined the News 6 team in August 2015 and is currently the 4 p.m. producer. She also specializes in election coverage. Tiffany grew up in Central Florida, calling Volusia County home. Tiffany gradated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism.