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The South Florida Roundup

How new voting laws will affect the upcoming Palm Beach County municipal elections

Emily Michot
Miami Herald

More than 200,000 voters in 17 municipalities in Palm Beach County will make their voices heard on March 14.

As the municipal elections approach, Palm Beach Post reporter Hannah Morse joined WLRN’s Wilkine Brutus on the latest South Florida Roundup to discuss ballot questions, candidates and changes to election law. Here are some key takeaways for voters.

Election law, vote-by-mail and early voting

Recently, Florida has made changes to election laws that heavily affect vote-by-mail.

One of the main changes is how often Florida voters have to request their mail-in ballots. Previously, you were able to request your absentee ballot for each election every four years.

“You used to be able to say, 'I want to receive mail ballots for all future elections,' but now you have to make that request every two years,” explained Morse. “If you voted by mail in the last election in November and plan to do so in March, you should make your request on or before March 4th.”

Voters will also have to provide the last four digits of their social security number or their driver’s license or ID card for the elections office to confirm their identity.

Another change is that voters will only be able to drop off their ballots during the office hours of the elections office.

However, in this election, there will not be any early voting. Morse says it is not because of election law but for the simple fact that there aren't enough eligible voters to warrant it.

On the ballot 

In these municipal elections, voters in various cities and communities will have to answer ballot questions.

In Delray Beach, voters will be asked two questions related to renovating public buildings and parks.

The first hinges on whether the city can borrow up to $100 million to renovate and equip the city's police headquarters and fire stations. "And the second question will ask if the city can borrow up to $20 million to improve the city parks like Katherine Strong slash Park and Miller Park,” said Morse.

The village of Tequesta is also among those asking voters ballot questions — seven of them.

One is a question of whether or not the village can issue bonds of up to $10 million bond to help purchase land.

“The land bought could have many uses,” said Morse. “Including environmentally sensitive land, waterfront land meant for recreation or open space meant to serve archeological or historic spaces, or even for traffic mitigation or recreational capital improvements.”

On the South Florida Roundup, we also discussed the four arrests made in connection to the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse and the two unsafe structure violations that hit the Caribbean Marketplace at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.

Listen above.

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Helen Acevedo, a freelance producer, is a grad student at Florida International University studying Spanish-language journalism, a bilingual program focused on telling the stories of diverse communities.