Florida politicians hoping to land a spot on the 2020 ballot will be allowed to collect the necessary petition signatures for their candidacies online.
A new emergency order signed by Secretary of State Laurel Lee (R) allows candidates for the state House and Senate to electronically submit qualifying documents, including signed petitions.
The order comes as federal health officials urge social distancing and other means for people to separate from each other to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFauci says that all states should have stay-at-home ordersOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Florida governor suspends all evictions and foreclosures in the state amid pandemicMORE (R) has also issued a stay-at-home order for the Sunshine State.
These and other orders and guidance limit person-to-person contact in various ways to prevent the spread of the virus, which makes it more difficult to collect original signed petitions in order to access the ballot, Lee wrote in her order.
Prior to Lees new order, Florida guidelines mandated that candidates must include original ink signatures on their petitions.
Some candidates praised the rule, saying it would help them avoid putting themselves in harms way to garner the necessary signatures.
The pandemic really put the whole process to a standstill, Key West Democrat Clint Barras, who is running to replace state Rep. Holly Raschein (R), told the Miami Herald. You dont want to go door to door, passing a pen back and forth.