Florida candidates allowed to collect petition signatures online

Florida candidates allowed to collect petition signatures online
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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 DeSantisDisney, NBA talking about resuming games near Orlando Nursing homes need increased staffing, not legal immunity The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask MORE (R) has also issued a stay-at-home order for the Sunshine State.

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“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 Lee’s 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 harm’s 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 don’t want to go door to door, passing a pen back and forth.”