NAPLES, Fla. — This week the state house and senate passed the bill that would create a separate department responsible for investigating election crimes.
The bill also would require county election offices to update their voter rolls every year. Right now they’re required to update those rolls every other year.
Lee County supervisor of elections Tommy Doyle told FOX4 that more maintenance of the voter list means more work and more cost. However, Doyle said the bill will help with election security that is already strong in Southwest Florida.
“I’m for anything that may deter any kind of fraud,” Doyle said. “There’s very little fraud. Most perfected fraud mistake by voter or mistake by election officials. See how pans out in the future.”
Trish Robertson, spokesperson for the Collier County Supervisor of Elections, said they detected just eight cases of potential voter fraud in the 2020 general election — and nearly all of those were accidental.
Still, she’s in favor of the new bill if it makes elections even more secure.
“We don’t see lot of it, but if it’s going to build confidence of voters, we support that,” Robertson said. “We want voters to know integrity of election extremely important to us.
“It remains to be seen how effective and successful the new (election crimes) taskforce will be, but if voters are interested in having it, support that as long as it builds confidence.”
For local election officials, one of change with the new bill is that they must update their voter registration lists every year rather than every two years.
“That puts little pressure on us,” Doyle said. “It adds to the budget because it creates a massive amount of mailing. Postage and printing will be expensive.”
But Robertson said, it won’t create a lot more work in Collier County.
“A lot of people think we do it every other year, but list maintenance happens every day,” Robertson said. “We update people’s eligibility, if they’ve been arrested or if they’ve passed away or moved out county or state.”
For anyone concern about election security, or even if you’re just curious about how the process works, the Collier County Supervisor of Elections does public tours. Robertson said give them a call, and they’ll be happy to show you around.