Gubernatorial candidate and current U.S. Representative Charlie Crist began his “Voting Rights Tour” of the state of Florida to speak out against Republican efforts to establish stricter voting provisions.
Crist began his tour on Tuesday and will visit seven cities in Florida before wrapping it up on Friday. The selected cities include: Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Broward County, Miami, Orlando, and Gainesville.
The tour is in response to a bill (SB 90) that was signed on May 6th that involves installing new requirements for ballot drop boxes as well as mail-in voting. Requirements include increased security and supervision of ballot drop boxes, fewer drop boxes, and limited access to drop boxes by having fewer hours of operation. The other Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2022, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Niki Fried, said the bill is “going full Jim Crow” when criticizing the GOP.
Voting rules will be a major campaign issue in 2022 because Democrats see SB 90 as a deliberate attempt to suppress the vote. Rep. Crist’s decision to tour statewide is not only an attempt to hold roundtables with local community leaders and citizens in each city who are working to expand access to voting, but to further steer his campaign through major cities in Florida.
A week after SB 90 was approved, Charlie Crist wrote in the Tampa Bay Times: “It doesn’t protect voting rights — it undercuts them. It doesn’t make it easier to vote — it makes it much harder…the new Florida law makes it harder to stay eligible to vote by mail. It also makes it more difficult for local supervisors of elections to provide ballot drop boxes” and “is part of a national voter suppression effort by Republicans that’s taking place in Texas, Georgia and elsewhere.”
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