When she proposed the penalty I was disappointed that it was so light. Her office explained to me that the County could only do a misdemeanor penalty -- bummer. I told her that it wouldn't deter anyone. So she sponsored Resolution R-940-11 asking the Legislature to make it a Third Degree Felony to retrieve absentee ballots illegally (The County Commission adopted it 11/3/2011):
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ENACT LEGISLATION MAKING IT A THIRD-DEGREE FELONY TO RETRIEVE OR RETURN MORE THAN ONE ABSENTEE BALLOT FROM A NON-RELATIVE; ALTERNATIVELY URGING THE LEGISLATURE TO MAKE IT A THIRD DEGREE FELONY TO VIOLATE ANY LOCAL ELECTION LAW
WHEREAS, section 12-14,of the Code of Miami-Dade County provides that a person may retrieve no more than two absentee ballots other than his or her own per election, only one of which may be for an elector not of the designee’s immediate family; and
WHEREAS, section 12-14 has the effect of prohibiting any person from retrieving more than one absentee ballot from a non-relative; and
WHEREAS, this Board currently has under consideration an ordinance that would amend section 12-14 to expressly impose a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine for violating the provisions of the section; and
WHEREAS, while this penalty is only a misdemeanor, state law does not allow counties to impose felony penalties for county ordinance violations without express statutory authorization; and
WHEREAS, violations of state elections laws related to absentee ballots are punishable as a third degree felony pursuant to sections 104.047 and 104.0616, Florida Statutes; and
WHEREAS, absentee ballot fraud is a serious offense that goes to the root of our democracy; and
WHEREAS, this Board desires that the Florida Legislature make it a third degree felony for any person to retrieve or return more than one absentee ballot from a non-relative; and
WHEREAS, alternatively, this Board would ask the Florida Legislature to make it a third degree felony to violate any local election law regarding absentee ballots,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to enact legislation making it a third-degree felony to retrieve or return more than one absentee ballot from a non-relative; alternatively urges the Legislature to make it a third degree felony to violate any local election law regarding absentee ballots.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of this resolution to the Governor, the Senate President, the House Speaker, and the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County’s state lobbyists to advocate for the issue identified in Section 1 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to amend the 2012 State legislative package to include this item in the 2013 state legislative package.
Let's encourage Rebeca Sosa to go up to Tallahassee to lobby for this, as she said she would. We need an advocate to push this legislation through. This is what Eye on Miami supported. When you see the State Rep and Senate Candidates ask them if they will support this Resolution and change the misdemeanor penalty to a 3rd degree felony. Get a promise out of them!!