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Politics / Issues
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The Florida Roundup
The Florida Roundup is a live, weekly call-in show with a distinct focus on the issues affecting Floridians. Each Friday at noon, listeners can engage in the conversation with journalists, newsmakers and other Floridians about change, policy and the future of our lives in the sunshine state.Join our hosts, veteran journalists from our partner public radio stations: WLRN’s Tom Hudson, broadcasting from Miami and WJCT’s Melissa Ross, broadcasting from Jacksonville.

How Florida Is Preparing For The Presidential Elections; The State's Unemployment System

A poll worker wearing personal protective equipment deposits a Vote-by-Mail ballot for a voter, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, at a poling station at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department in Miami.
A poll worker wearing personal protective equipment deposits a Vote-by-Mail ballot for a voter, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, at a poling station at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department in Miami.

Among the topics were mail-in ballots and the latest on Florida's embattled unemployment system.

On Friday’s program, we discussed how Florida is preparing to vote in the presidential election during the pandemic. One of the areas we focused on was vote-by-mail.

By the time Election Day arrives on November 3, millions of Floridians will have already voted by mail.

Coronavirus-related safety concerns have been contributing to this year’s increase in vote-by-mail participants. In fact, more than four million people requested vote-by-mail ballots in the Florida Primary election, and more than two million of those ballots were returned. 
We spoke with:

Florida's Unemployment System
We also discussed the latest on the state’s unemployment system.

Ken Lawson, secretary for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, recently resigned. Prior to his resignation, Lawson faced criticism as Floridians struggled to access unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

The system to apply for benefits became overwhelmed and crashed frequently. Applicants spent hours on the phone trying to reach DEO staff for assistance. Many qualified applicants’ benefits were never paid out fully, or at all.

We spoke with POLITICO reporter Matt Dixon about Lawson’s resignation, the status of unemployment benefits, and FEMA’s grant, which includes an extra $300 a week in benefits. 

Florida House Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando, who has been a critic of the state’s unemployment system, also joined us with her thoughts on the subject.

Katherine Hobbs can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.