FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Broward’s Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott said new restrictive voting legislation signed by Governor Ron DeSantis will make it more difficult for some voters to cast their ballot.
The bill (SB 90) includes stricter voter ID requirements for voting by mail, creates limits on who can pick up and return a voter’s ballot, bans private funding for elections, and restricts when ballot drop boxes can be used.READ MORE: South Florida Students Face Serious Charges, Lifelong Consequences For School Threats
Scott said the restrictions on drop boxes will make it less convenient for voters to return their ballots.
“We are losing our 24-hour drop boxes that we have at the downtown office as well as in Lauderhill. Now we have to have those drop boxes manned,” he said.
DeSantis, who signed the legislation live on Fox News, said it was all about transparency and strengthening the election process.
“We’re making sure we are enforcing voter ID. Look you have to show a picture ID to do all these other things in society, clearly voting. We are also banning ballot harvesting. We are not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some dropbox. We’re also prohibiting the mass mailing of ballots. We’ve had absentee balloting in Florida for a long time. You request a ballot, you get it and you mail it in,” he said.READ MORE: 'He Understood Sacrifice': Former Florida Rep. Donna Shalala Remembers Bob Dole As Selfless War Hero
Democrats and other critics call it blatant voter suppression. They say there are additional identification and registration requirements that could discourage some voters.
“You’re not making it impossible to vote, just more difficult. For example, the old rule was that you could register for a two-election cycle period to automatically receive an absentee ballot. Now it’s one year, every cycle you have to re-register,” said Nova Southeastern University political science Professor Charles Zelden.
Immediately after DeSantis signed the legislation, opponents filed a lawsuit alleging that the measure is unconstitutional.
The coalition of opponents, which includes the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Black Voters Matter Fund Inc., the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and Common Cause, claim the law violates First Amendment rights and would place an “undue burden on the right to vote.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz released a statement that said DeSantis and state Republicans are more interested in holding on to power than ensuring fair access to our democracy.MORE NEWS: Biden Administration Implementing New Travel Rules To Help Combat Spread Of Omicron Variant
“They all praised the quality of the November elections here in Florida and now they are changing the rules. For the Florida Republicans, this bill is not about election integrity, it is about blatant voter suppression, just because they can,” he said.