Republican Senator Rick Scott, who formerly served as the governor of Florida, proposed a bill this week that would nullify any mail-in ballots that weren’t counted within 48 hours of the election date.
The bill, “Help America Vote Act of 2020,” which Scott proposed Thursday, would help to codify Donald Trump’s desire, stated last week, to ensure that the preliminary tally of votes on Election Day will count as the final vote count in the election.
According to a Washington Post/University of Maryland poll conducted earlier this month, the preliminary count would leave out absentee ballots and a record number of mail-in ballots.
According to Slate, the proposal “would require that mail-in ballots be counted within 24 hours of when voting closes on Election Day. Scott’s proposed legislation would also prevent mail-in ballots received prior to Election Day from being processed and counted until the morning of Nov. 3, contradicting state election statutes across the country including one that he signed when he was governor of Florida. Basically, the bill would move back the date by which votes can start to be counted and move up the date by which the count must end. This would limit the count to a single less-than-48-hour window, shortening the count in some cases by weeks.”
“Any conflicting state laws would be preempted,” Chris Hartline, communications director for Scott, told Slate—including rules in the senator’s own home state of Florida, where the counting of votes can legally begin 22 days before Election Day.
While officials will have only 48 hours to tally all the votes, Scott has offered no sort of funding that would make the counting process faster.
The bill would not only shorten the time during which officials generally have to count votes by several weeks, but it would also leave out many absentee voters, who made up more than 17% of voters in 2016 and more than 20% in previous years.
Scott’s proposal received backlash on social media, many believing it’s just a plot to tend to Trump’s conspiracy theory about mail-in voting.
It's just wild that they're introducing a bill like this in the light of day. https://t.co/V5sKHcZbds
— Jim Newell (@jim_newell) September 25, 2020
rick scott doesn’t want your vote to count. https://t.co/9hzTSHXivd
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) September 25, 2020
The proposal by Florida's own Rick Scott isn't intended to guarantee that all votes will be counted within 24 hours.
It's actually intended to stop the counting and toss out any ballot not properly tallied within 24 hours.
Sorry Florida. We saw this movie in 2000. Try again.
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) September 24, 2020
the primary action underway by the administration, Senate Republicans, and their allied operatives right now is (a) make it harder to count all the votes in a timely way (b) secure five SCOTUS votes to make this election-night cutoff a defacto constitutional requirement https://t.co/PfjHJVW9w9
— Seth D. Michaels 🍂 (@sethdmichaels) September 25, 2020