State Watch

Black Florida legislators call on corporations to denounce proposed voting restrictions

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A coalition of Black state legislators in Florida is calling on corporations there to signal opposition to a pair of voting reform bills currently being considered.

The nearly two dozen state House and Senate members, including the chair of Florida’s Legislative Black Caucus, state Sen. Bobby Powell (D), wrote in a news release Monday that corporations based in Florida should “stand up for democracy” in a manner similar to the CEOs of Coca-Cola and other corporations that oppose a new law in neighboring Georgia that limits voting by mail and imposes other restrictions.

“Many of our country’s largest corporations have been outspoken on the issue of protecting our right to vote,” said Powell. “Unfortunately, many of these same corporate interests are helping to fund the crackdown on those rights by Republicans in statehouses across the nation, including Florida’s. We are calling on them to examine their rolls in bankrolling these oppressive measures, and we are calling on them to stand up for democracy.”

“Corporations are an integral part of the community in Florida,” added state Sen. Perry E. Thurston Jr. (D). “They should not and cannot be on the sidelines. As others are doing across the nation, Florida’s top executives need to speak out and let Floridians know where they stand on these suppressive laws.”

Though the press release did not name any corporations specifically, Florida is home to the headquarters of several major cruise lines, including Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises, as well as other corporations including Spirit Airlines, Office Depot and CSX.

The two bills cited by the lawmakers are S.B. 90, which would criminalize picking up or dropping off a mail-in ballot for other people and eliminate some vote-by-mail drop boxes, and H.B. 7041, which is similar to the Senate bill but would also criminalize offering food or drinks to people standing in line to vote, a provision passed into law in Georgia.

The bills are opposed by Democrats as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which called them “part of a nationwide effort to create more obstacles for voters to exercise their right to vote.”

Republicans around the nation introduced a flurry of bills aimed at restricting access to mail-in ballots as well as other provisions critics say will make voting more difficult following former President Trump’s election loss in 2020, which included multiple states such as Georgia flipping from red to blue.

Tags Donald Trump Florida Georgia Voter suppression voting reform voting restrictions

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