Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has it signed a law restricting access to ballot boxes for absenteeism and adding new hurdles to the process of submitting them, the latest voting restrictions supported by Republicans to become law in the United States since the 2020 presidential election.
The new law restricts the use of absentee ballot boxes to the early voting period, adds new identification requirements to request such ballots, and requires voters to reapply for absentee ballots in each new one. electoral cycle. Previously, Florida voters only had to register for an absentee ballot once every two election cycles.
The law also gives partisan election observers more power to raise objections and requires that people offering voter assistance remain at least 45 meters (150 feet) away from polling stations, an increase over the previous radius of 30 meters (100 feet).
DeSantis, who signed the bill during an appearance on Fox News’ Fox & Friends program, said: “I, the undersigned, say: Florida, your vote counts, your vote will be done with integrity. and transparency and this is a great place for democracy. “
– Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) May 6, 2021
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Disability Rights Florida, and the Common Cause government accountability group immediately filed a lawsuit challenging the law, which they argued violated section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Title II of the Disability Act of America ”.
The Florida League of Women Voters also filed an independent lawsuit.
The legislation “represents a direct and rapid reaction to the historic turnout of black voters during the 2020 election season,” said Zachery Morris, deputy advisor to the NAACP’s Defense and Legal Education Fund (LDF).
“The law’s suppressive and discriminatory provisions make it clear that the goal of the Florida legislature is to lift additional barriers to inhibiting Florida voters, especially voters with disabilities,” Morris said in a statement Thursday. “Black voters and Latin voters have not been able to access the polls. These efforts are shameful and not new. We cannot allow elected officials to suppress votes under the guise of electoral integrity. ”
Republican lawmakers from many states have it persecuted measures to restrict voting rights following the false claims of then-President Donald Trump that robbed him of the 2020 election through widespread voting fraud.
In pursuing the new measures, Florida Republican lawmakers have repeatedly cited unfounded claims made by Trump, the same absent Florida voter, following his decisive loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Judges rejected these claims in more than 60 lawsuits that did not nullify the election result. However, lawmakers in Republican-controlled states, including Georgia, Texas, and Arizona, proposed legislation that they said was necessary to curb election fraud, which remains uncommon in the United States.
‘Softer and more successful elections’
DeSantis acknowledged in a February press release that Florida had “held the smoothest and most successful election of all states in the country” in November, but said new limits were needed on absentee ballots to safeguard electoral integrity. .
Democratic voters used more postal or no-vote votes than Republicans in the 2020 election, as many people avoided voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic.
While Florida Republicans used mail voting a little more than Democrats in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 general elections in November, Democrats sent 2.2 million votes by email compared to 1 , 5 million Republican voters, according to state records.
The abrupt change in policy after the increase in Democratic postal votes has not gone unnoticed by voting rights advocates.
“Florida Republican legislative leaders seem determined to weaken the system that voters have relied on, with no significant problems, for most of a generation,” Sylvia Albert, director of voting and election for the surveillance of good Common Cause government, On April 28 after Florida’s House approved the bill.
In March, Republican Governor of Georgia signed a law which tightened the identification requirements for absentee voting, restricted the use of ballot boxes, and allowed a Republican-controlled state agency to take over local voting operations.
Democrats and voting rights activists sued Georgia over the measure, saying it aimed to disenfranchise black voters, whose strong participation helped push Biden to the presidency and gave Democrats two victories in the U.S. Senate. in Georgia in January which gave them control of the chamber.
The best American companies too he denigrated Georgia Law and Major League Baseball moved their All-Star out of state in protest.