The Florida House is hearing an elections reform package and the Florida Senate is hearing a bill amending Florida’s election law related to ballot drop-boxes and absentee ballot signature verification.
Sen. Dennis Baxley’s (R-12) SB 90 passed the Senate Rules Committee by a 10-7 vote, and Baxley said the bill is well-intentioned and designed to protect Florida’s voters and the integrity of Florida’s elections.
“These are good provisions crafted together because we listened,” Baxley said. “I hope you’ll listen to me as I ask for your vote on this election bill that we can all be proud of.”
After much debate and controversy, the current Senate version of the bill is keeping the existing Florida statute on ballot drop boxes but preventing third-party candidates from switching their party affiliation at the last minute.
Florida Republicans have called for stronger election integrity in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and claims of voter fraud.
The House version would make it more difficult to drop off someone else’s ballot and require the person dropping of the ballot to have an “attestation” saying the person has the permission of the voter to drop their ballot. It would also permit supervisors of elections to identify drop-box sites at least 30 days before an election and the sites would be manned by employees of the supervisor’s office. The location of the drop-box would be required to remain unchanged through the early voting period and the duration of the election.
Voting-rights groups and democrats have criticized both proposals who have maintained Florida’s 2020 election went extremely well, and changes are unnecessary and have called it “ voter suppression.”
Today the Florida Senate is addressing #SB90 in the Rules committee. This bill is a blatant attempt at voter suppression that would make it harder for millions of Floridians to vote.
We need to protect our voting rights. Call your Senator TODAY and tell them to vote NO on SB 90. pic.twitter.com/BZukAmnFJC
— Florida Democrats (@FlaDems) April 14, 2021
“We are not restricting anybody’s access to the ballot,” said Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-35). “We have 45 days of voting in the state of Florida, three different ways of voting. Anyone who says that we’re restricting the ballot, I’m sorry, it’s just not accurate.”
Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Florida Senate” by The Florida Senate and photo “Dennis Baxley” by Dennis Baxley.