Florida joins Georgia in passing new voting restrictions, including limits on vote-by-mail, drop boxes
Florida on Thursday passed new voting laws that place restrictions around vote-by-mail and ballot drop boxes.
Florida’s state legislature passed a bill that specifies who can drop off a ballot at a drop box and where drop boxes can be placed. It also stipulates that drop boxes cannot be moved 30 days before the election and that an election official must be around when the drop box is opened, NBC News reported.
Along with drop boxes, voters will have to request to vote by mail more frequently. The bill also gives new powers to election observers and specifies that private funds cannot be used to pay election officials.
Other changes include giving Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) the power to appoint officials to local offices if the positions are left by those running for state office.
The bill was passed in the state House 77-40 and in the Senate 23-17, according to NBC News.
The bill was amended to be less strict, with the original version banning drop boxes completely.
Florida joins Georgia in passing more stringent voting laws. Georgia earlier this month passed stricter voting laws that resulted in outrage from Democrats, including President Biden, who compared the Peach State’s new voting restrictions to Jim Crow laws. Other states with GOP-controlled legislatures such as Arizona are also looking at amending voting laws.
A Florida state Democrat, Rep. Omari Hardy, mimicked language used to describe the Georgia voting bill in calling Florida’s bill the “the revival of Jim Crow in this state, whether the sponsors admit it or not.”
“I take some issue with the fact that we’re trying to somehow restrict the vote. There are more ways to vote in Florida and a longer opportunity than just about any state in the nation,” state Rep. Ralph Massullo (R) said.
“Fraud will be reduced as much as we can possibly do it with the work we’re doing today,” Massullo added.
The bill not goes to DeSantis’s desk to be signed.