The Florida state Senate on Monday approved tighter vote-by-mail regulations in a bill that in recent days was made less stringent after neighboring Georgia’s new voting restrictions elicited widespread condemnation.
Florida State legislature passed #SB90, the most sweeping voter integrity/ voter ID bill in the nation. One lone Republican, Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg crossed over to support FL Democrat lawmakers, who curiously continue to fight to make voting in America more like a third-world country.
Tim Swain, a Republican candidate for Senate tweeted about the bill:
🚨BREAKING🚨Florida Senate just PASSED #SB90, the most sweeping election integrity/voter ID legislation in the Nation!
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) April 26, 2021
Democrats are losing their collective minds on social media:
🚨Breaking Voting Rights News: Florida Senate just passed #SB90, a Georgia-style voter suppression bill that criminalizes giving food and water to voters in line, severely restricts mail ballot drop boxes, and makes it harder to vote by mail. #VotingRightsNews #Florida pic.twitter.com/axjuI1V468
— Andrew Goodman FDN (@AndrewGoodmanF) April 26, 2021
Fox 13 News Reported:
Under the Senate measure, supervisors could use ballot-drop boxes during early voting hours if the boxes are staffed by employees of the supervisors’ offices at all times. The proposal would make supervisors subject to a $25,000 fine if drop boxes are available to voters after early voting hours.
The Senate bill also includes new identification requirements for people requesting mail-in ballots, switching party affiliations, or changing home addresses. The Senate plan would require voters to provide a driver’s license number, state identification number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number, if they do not have a Florida-issued ID card, to make the changes or request mail-in ballots.
Meanwhile, Heritage Action released a “Myth vs. Fact” sheet that breaks down the contents of the Florida voter reform bill. Their fact sheet destroys the coordinated “voter suppression” messaging by Democrats who are intentionally misleading citizens about what the bill will mean for future elections:
The bill, passed by the Senate in a 23-17 vote, also includes other election-related changes. One provision would require county canvassing boards to allow candidates and political parties to each have one person within a distance that allows them to “directly observe” ballots being examined for signature matching and other processes, an issue that arose in other states following last year’s presidential election.
“The goal for everybody is to make it as easy as possible to vote and as hard as possible to cheat,” Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican who also serves as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, argued. “This does nothing to suppress the vote. It does nothing to restrict the vote. What we’re trying to do is make sure that we preserve our sacred duty and right of having every vote count.”
“This is not Georgia 2.0,” said Sen. Dennis Baxley, the bill’s Republican sponsor, as he pushed back against critics who have decried the measure as draconian.
Baxley was alluding to the ongoing backlash over new voting rules in neighboring Georgia, which limit ballot drop boxes, impose tougher ID requirements and prohibit giving food and water to people in line.
“All we’re doing in this bill is clarifying that seeking votes, distributing campaign materials and giving, or attempting to give, items to voters is prohibited within 150 feet of polling places,” Baxley said, noting that the prohibition would not apply to elections officials.
Baxley, R-Ocala, eased up on some proposed restrictions included in earlier versions of the Senate bill, which originally would have banned supervisors’ use of ballot drop boxes altogether. Drop boxes became a flashpoint last year when elections supervisors and DeSantis’ administration wrangled over where they could be located and whether they needed to be manned at all times.