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Friday, February 19, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposes new election legislation that leans a little heavy on voter suppression

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2021 at 4:57 PM

click image SCREEN CAPTURE COURTESY RON DESANTIS/TWITTER
  • Screen capture courtesy Ron DeSantis/Twitter
While simultaneously bragging about Florida’s success handling record turnouts during the 2020 election, on Thursday Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia proposed new legislation that would completely transform the state’s entire election process.

“Last November, Florida held the smoothest, most successful election of any state in the country,” said DeSantis in a statement. “While we should celebrate this feat, we should not rest on our laurels. Today, we are taking action to ensure that Florida remains a leader on key issues regarding our electoral process, such as ballot integrity, public access to election information, transparency of election reporting and more. By strengthening these election integrity protections, we will ensure that our elections remain secure and transparent, and that Florida’s electoral process remains a blueprint for other states to follow.”
Arguably leaning on the mindset of “If less people vote, there can’t be any fraud,” the proposed bill would focus on things like reducing ballot dropbox sites (which have attracted zero controversy over the years in Florida except from former President Donald Trump baselessly shitting on them in other states), banning ballot harvesting (another non-issue), requiring people to ask for a mail-in ballot every year (rather than every two years), preventing “mass mailing of vote-by-mail ballots” (literally zero counties in Florida do this at the moment), and stopping counties from using third-party organizations to “get out the vote.”



Of course, the proposal was met with fierce opposition from state Democrats and voting rights advocates. “[DeSantis] takes the lead on voter suppression!” tweeted State Rep. and Democrat Anna Eskamani. “Late last year he was bragging about how well elections went in FL and now he wants to make voting (& voting by mail!) as hard as possible!”

Florida ACLU lawyer Abdelilah Skhir echoed this sentiment, questioning the motives behind the proposal. “Florida lawmakers have been saying for months how smoothly our elections went. And they did!” tweeted Skhir. “So why are they proposing major reforms that would lead to fewer people voting?”

From the proposed bill:
Ballot Integrity
  • Address the use of ballot drop boxes.
  • Address ballot harvesting so that no person may possess ballots other than their own and their immediate family.
  • No mass mailing of vote-by-mail ballots—only voters who request a ballot should receive a ballot.
  • Vote-by-mail requests must be made each election year.
  • Vote by mail ballot signatures must match the most recent signature on file.
Transparency in the Elections Process
  • Political parties and candidates cannot be shut out from observing the signature matching process.
  • Supervisors of Elections must post over-vote ballots to be considered by the canvassing board on their website before the canvassing board meets.
  • Prohibits counties from receiving grants from private third-party organizations for “get out the vote” initiatives.
Transparency in Elections Reporting
  • Requires real-time reporting of voter turnout data at the precinct level.
  • Supervisors of Elections must report how many ballots have been requested, how many have been received, and how many are left to be counted.
Again, none of these things were issues last election, but apparently someone’s nervous about 2022.


This story first appeared in our sister newspaper Creative Loafing Tampa.

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