The Florida legislature is the latest to take action on basic election integrity measures, passing a bill this week which would add restrictions to voting by mail and ballot harvesting and enhance voter ID requirements, among other items.
The bill, SB 90, passed in the Senate 23-17 and the House 77-40, sending it to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) desk.
The bill makes a number of changes, including banning the use of private money to fund election operations, installing further restrictions on absentee voting and ballot harvesting by third-party operators, and improving signature verification.
Specifically, the bill cracks down on vote by mail, requiring voters to request to vote by mail “more regularly” and restricts third-party voter registration organizations, per NBC News.
As ABC News summarized:
In addition to new drop-box provisions, the Florida bill also bars local agencies from accepting outside money for nearly all election-related expenses and from mailing unsolicited ballots to voters; expands the no-solicitation zone outside polling facilities by 50 feet; reduces the number of elections a single vote-by-mail application covers; imposes new voter ID requirements for updating one’s registration record and applying for a mail ballot; allows counties to begin canvassing returned mail ballots sooner pre-election; sets up a state-run “live turnout data” dashboard for Election Day turnout and election night mail ballot processing; and gives poll watchers, candidates, political parties and committees, or their designees, more access to certain election processes and materials.
Heritage Action, one of the organizations vehemently defending election integrity efforts in states such as Georgia, praised the Florida legislature’s move, calling it a “historic day for the Sunshine State,” as the bill contains “numerous provisions to protect the votes of Floridians.”
“These measures, which Heritage Action advocated for and partnered with thousands of grassroots activists to support, will help ensure it is easy to vote and hard to cheat in Florida,” Executive Director Jessica Anderson said.
Democrats, however, have already resurfaced their go-to election integrity critiques, likening the bill to the era of Jim Crow.
“We are not here because we have a problem with our elections. We are here because the Republican former president lost his re-election in November, and, rather than admitting his defeat, he spun a web of lies, radicalized those lies, in an attempt to explain away the loss,” state Rep. Omari Hardy (D) said, referring to the measure as the “revival of Jim Crow in this state.”
A spokesperson for DeSantis said the bill will “ensure that Florida remains a national leader in election security, integrity, and transparency.”
Author: Hannah Bleau