Royal Palm Beach pushes back municipal election qualifying dates to November
Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved the preliminary reading of ordinances Thursday, August 19 to adjust qualifying dates for municipal elections at the request of the supervisor of the Palm Beach County Election Office.
Village Attorney Keith Davis noted that the village charter currently sets qualifying dates for the March municipal elections to the first seven working days after January 1, with the names of candidates to be sent to the Election Office Supervisor. no later than 5 p.m. the fourth working day after the end of qualifying.
Florida’s statutes were recently amended, requiring the Election Office Supervisor to send mail-in ballots, previously known as mail-in ballots, to military personnel in uniform and to foreign voters within the time limits prescribed by law before all municipal elections. In correspondence received in June, the Election Office Supervisor strongly recommended that the village change its qualifying period so that it ends no later than the 95th day before the election, which would be that cycle on December 3, 2021 to the March 2022 election.
In response, village staff propose to move the qualification to the first seven working days in November of the calendar year immediately preceding the election year.
The council approved the first readings of two ordinances, one amending the village charter regarding qualifying dates, and the other amending the ordinances code.
“In order for the Election Supervisor to comply with the postal voting requirements, he is requesting that all qualifying dates for the municipal elections be extended to a minimum of 95 days, ie early December,” said Davis. “This ordinance and the next ordinance, which proposes changes to the code, would propose to change your qualifying date from the first seven working days of January to the first seven working days of November. It’s a little over 95 days, but that avoids the Thanksgiving holiday.
Mayor Fred Pinto said the village really had no options in this situation, and the other council members agreed.
“Unless we want to organize the elections, which is not a good idea in my mind,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Valuntas.
City Councilor Selena Samios presented a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, which won 5-0.
The council also approved a complementary ordinance amending the code of ordinances concerning the dates of qualification and certification of the elections, qualifying the clerk of the village to delegate the tasks of the electoral process.
Davis said the second ordinance not only changes qualifying dates, but also addresses the duties of the canvassing board.
“In addition to moving the qualifying dates, the election supervisor has asked us to look at how we appoint the canvassing board,” he said. “In our case, our canvassing committee includes the election supervisor, as well as the village clerk and a council member not involved in that particular election. “
Davis said the election supervisor refused to participate in the activities of the village canvassing council.
“There is the choice of either removing the supervisor from our solicitation board and appointing someone else, or appointing the solicitation office of the election supervisor to solicit our municipal election,” he said. .
In this case, the canvassing board would be the Palm Beach County Election Supervisor, a County Court Judge, and the Palm Beach County Mayor or designate.
Davis added that being a member of the canvassing board involves sitting on the county canvassing board while the votes are being counted, which is about five days under normal conditions.
City Councilor Selena Samios said she understands the commitment a canvassing board member needs to make.
“I think we’ve all been through this process, where we went down with the staff to sit until 4 am and watch this process,” Samios said. “I liked the transparency of it, so I liked this process.”
Valuntas said he favors the idea of having professionals on the canvassing board.
“Instead of having someone sitting here on the council who is not involved in an election but who could support someone who is involved in that election… and I thought we have a county council that does that “, did he declare. . “I kinda like the idea of having people who are more knowledgeable in this field and more professional, until they do it more often.”
City Councilor Jan Rodusky introduced a motion to approve the ordinance, which designates the functions of the county canvassing council. He carried 5-0.