WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — The bill waiting to be signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, that creates an election police force, comes with a costly name change that taxpayer will be responsible for.
Plastered proudly in red, white and blue, the Palm Beach County drop boxes, in their current name are enduring what will likely be their last election.
At the governor’s pen stroke, their official name will change.
“It will be the same thing, under a different name. Now it’ll be a ‘secure ballot intake station," said Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link, in an interview on Tuesday with reporter Andrew Lofholm.
“So SBIS for short?” Lofholm followed up.
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“SBIS, right, we’ll have a SBIS.”
Sartory Link and her staff will have their work cut out for them. Anywhere the term drop box appears, they’ll need to scrub it.
The boxes will need a paint job, a website change and hundreds of thousands of secrecy sleeves recycled and re-done. Videos that were close to release explaining the steps a ballot goes through will need to be re-shot.
All because of a name change.
“How much is it going to cost to change the name?” Lofholm asked Sartory Link.
“Right now we’re trying to do an inventory of how much is going to be wasted, and we think it’s going to be between $50,000 and $60,000,” Link said.
“$50,000 to $60,000 just from the name change that really, the taxpayer is paying for?” Lofholm followed up.
“Correct, correct. And it’s not something that we really budgeted for,” said Sartory Link.
Last month, DeSantis at the time erroneously said this about drop boxes.
“Oh, we banned drop boxes in the state of Florida, we banned drop boxes,” said DeSantis.
But perhaps that was the writing on the wall.
Starting on page 26 of the legislation, a single strike through “drop box,” effectively banning the term for officials like Sartory Link and their staff.
The act of dropping your ballot in a box will live on in Florida.
The box won’t be a box, but a “secure ballot intake station.”
“Does changing the name of drop boxes, does it make them more secure?” Lofholm asked Sartory Link.
“There is nothing changing with respect to the drop boxes except for their names. They’re going to follow the same rules, the same laws that apply,” said Sartory Link.
Depending on when the governor signs the bill, the elections office will have to move fast since there’s a runoff election going on right now that they just mailed out ballots for.
Barring any changes, the next election is the August primary.