Governor Ron DeSantis signed an elections reform bill into law Thursday, causing much debate over the new law’s contents.
The bill, SB 90, designed to ensure election integrity, has been the subject of debate for weeks as the Florida Legislature moved the bill through committees. The bill will install new requirements for ballot drop boxes as well as mail-in voting. Voters who wish to vote absentee will have to ask for a ballot each general election cycle. Also, the drop boxes will need to be staffed by an employee from the supervisor of elections’ office whenever the box is receiving ballots, and times to access the drop boxes will be limited.
Florida Republicans who have backed the bill said it is to ensure Florida’s elections are transparent and unencumbered by controversy, like some states in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.
Democrats are irate over the governor’s signing of the bill. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried took to Twitter to say, “The GOP is going full Jim Crow because they can’t win elections based on their policies.”
DeSantis signed the bill on Fox News where he praised the new law.
“Right now I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” said DeSantis. “We’re proud of the strides that we’ve made. We’re not resting on our laurels. And me signing this bill here says, ‘Florida, your vote counts, your vote is going to be cast with integrity and transparency.'”
The contents of the bill were largely inspired by a 2012 grand jury where they made a list of recommendations for lawmakers to take to curb fraudulent absentee voting.
Recently announced gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist also came out in opposition to the new law at his campaign launch echoing the sentiments of many Democrats calling it voter suppression.
“If you’re about to vote, they’re going to starve you,” Crist said. “What the hell is that? Is that just cruel and unusual punishment to voters? They’re trying to suppress the vote. Don’t be confused.”
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