On Thursday, Florida’s legislature followed in Georgia’s footsteps and passed a voter-integrity bill that implements new requirements for drop boxes and mail-in voting, and also places limits on how local elections are run by officials in an effort to prevent voter fraud.
Citing potential voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, Republicans in the state have moved to institute sweeping measures.
Democrats are crying foul and they are accusing the Republicans of trying to diminish the impact of black voters. They point to the fact that heavy turnout from the black community in Georgia ostensibly led to Senate victories for the Democrats in January.
Georgia Republicans passed a voter-integrity law in March and the left has strenuously objected to it. Dozens of big companies have protested the law and Major League Baseball went so far as to relocate the All-Star Game in protest.
(Video Credit: WFLA News Channel 8)
The bill in Florida reportedly features stricter requirements concerning dropbox oversight and requires voters to apply yearly for mail-in ballots.
It also widens the “no-solicitation” area surrounding polling locations. The legislation expands the definition of solicitation to “the giving, or attempting to give, any item to a voter by certain persons.” Leftists contend this will stop activists from providing food and water to voters who are waiting in line. However, as in Georgia, food and water can be provided at a distance to prevent the illegal influencing of voters.
“We’ve never said that any nonprofit organization was trying to influence folks,” claimed Rep. Blaise Ingoglia. “What we’re saying in the bill is that the intent of the no-solicitation zone in that language is to make sure that nobody is trying to influence the vote while they are in line.”
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is fully expected to sign the bill into law.
Democratic attorney Marc Elias is threatening the state over the new proposed law. “The voting restrictions that have already been signed into law have already been met with litigation from Democrats and civil rights groups, & voting rights attorney Marc Elias has vowed to bring litigation against more states as they impose new measures.”
“These voter suppression laws are targeted at Black, Brown and young voters,” Elias also tweeted. “Bill now heads to Governor’s desk. Watch this space for more news once it is signed.”
We know the answer. These voter suppression laws are targeted at Black, Brown and young voters.
The question is whether the business community would actually use its influence to stop these bills rather than offering vague statements of thoughts and prayers for our democracy. https://t.co/qdwvVZ7ZNS
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) April 30, 2021
Republicans are calling the measures “guardrails” against voter fraud. While Democrats and the media are calling the bill “controversial,” “restrictive,” and “draconian.”
Allegedly, it was proposed that ballot dropboxes be banned and that ID be presented when dropping off ballots. Those proposals did not make the final cut.
Democrats are furious over the passage of the new bill.
“We had, as our the Republican governor said, one of the best-operated elections in the country, and yet today, the majority party through last-minute maneuvers passed a voter suppression bill past a voter suppression bill mimicking what took place in Georgia,” Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani stated.
“There’s no reason whatsoever that we should deter people from voting and making it much more difficult,” remarked Sen. Audrey Gibson. “It’s still a suppression bill.”
Rep. Geraldine Thompson called the bill a modern-day attempt to force new restrictions on minority voters. “People like me have been relegated to the back of the bus and you want to me to sit here and accept it,” snarled Thompson.
“I think it will target people of color. It will affect them,” Democratic state Sen. Randolph Bracy commented to CNN.
“We’ve had voter ID. It works. It’s the right thing to do,” Governor DeSantis said. He also noted that Florida’s 2020 election was “fair and transparent, and the reforms we have coming will make it even better.”
When the bill is signed into law, dropboxes will only be accessible when early voting sites are open. In a number of counties, voters could use dropboxes at any time to submit their ballots.
Of concern to Republicans was not only the use of dropboxes but ballot harvesting which potentially allows outside groups to tamper with completed ballots that they collect. The dropboxes will now be required to be supervised by election officials.
SB 90 will require Floridians to provide their driver’s licenses, state identification numbers, or the last four digits of their Social Security numbers when they request mail-in ballots, modify their party affiliations, or their names.
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