Ron DeSantis Signs Restriction Bill

( Florida is the latest state to pass election reform measures that is causing controversy from both sides of the political aisle.

On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new election reform measure. He signed the bill live on Fox News. The measure was previously passed along almost complete party-lines in the Florida legislature.

Every county supervisor of elections in Florida — there are 67 of them — objected to the law before it was signed, as did many civil rights groups.

The new law will require voters who wish to cast an absentee ballot to submit a new request every election cycle. The previous rule required them to do so every four years.

The law requires anyone who wishes to request an absentee ballot or to change their political party affiliation to submit proof of identification along with their request. This could be a state identification number, the last four digits of their Social Security number or a driver’s license number.

The bill also limits access by voters to absentee ballot drop boxes that are used in many of Florida’s counties. It bans people other than election workers from giving out water or food to people who are waiting in line to vote, as long as they are within 150 feet of a polling place.

Florida counties are also barred from individually entering into legal consent agreements that would change these election procedures. Counties also cannot accept any private funds or grants that would pay for expenses related to an election.

Other states such as Arizona and Texas are considering similar considerations in their bills. Last election cycle, many counties accepted grants from a non-profit organization that was tied to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. Those funds helped pay for security systems and additional workers at the poll.

Like in other states, Republicans say the new voting law is meant to beef up security while also improving confidence in local elections.

Democrats, though, claim that these laws are just modern forms of Jim Crow laws that make it more difficult for certain demographics to vote. Manny Diaz, who is the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, commented on his state’s new law:

“Governor DeSantis and Florida Republicans are more interested in holding on to power than ensuring fair access to our democracy. 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.”

Following his signing of the bill, DeSantis issued a statement. In it, he said there was no election fraud or mischief that happened in the 2020 presidential elections in Florida, but the law was necessary to ensure it didn’t happen in the future. He said:

“Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity. Elections should be free and fair, and these changes will ensure this continues to be the case in the Sunshine State.”