Politics Florida Hit With Lawsuit Minutes After Ron DeSantis Signs New Voting Bill
Dems fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election
Democrats are voicing frustration with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over the special election for the late Rep. Alcee Hastings's (D-Fla.) seat.Hastings, who represented a majority Black district in South Florida for nearly three decades, died early this month after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Florida law gives DeSantis broad authority to set a date for the special election to replace him, but he has so far remained silent on when voters can expect to choose their next representative.
Florida Governorsigned a controversial election reform bill into law on Thursday morning, and minutes later a lawsuit was filed against state that claims the legislation violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The voting bill adds more limits to voting insimilar to legislation in other states, where critics say GOP leadership are pushing an agenda connected to former President 's widely disproven claims of election fraud.
Florida Democrats' midterm fantasy faceoff: DeSantis vs. Demings
A DeSantis vs. Demings race could foreshadow how DeSantis might fare in 2024 or even in 2028 against another powerful woman of color currently one heartbeat away from the presidency. No matter who wins, Florida's gubernatorial election will impact America's political stage.Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor. She served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.
Provisions of the bill—calledBill 90—include stricter voter ID requirements for voting by mail, adding limits on who can pick up and return a voter's ballot, and banning private funding for elections. Restrictions created by the bill include expanding partisan observation power during ballot tabulation and creating more rules regarding drop box use for absentee ballots.
The lawsuit against the bill was brought on by a coalition that includes the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans. In the paperwork filed, the suit says Senate Bill 90 "caters to a dangerous lie about the 2020 election that threatens our most basic democratic values, and, in the end, makes it harder to vote without adequate justification for doing so."
DeSantis signs GOP-backed election bill
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that will change the way the Sunshine State conducts its elections, despite his praise for 2020. DeSantis signed the bill, which was passed last week, on Thursday morning at a Hilton in West Palm Beach, Florida. Only Fox News was permitted inside the event.The bill prevents state agencies from sending voting-by-mail ballots to people who didn’t request one, disallows ballot harvesting (the collection of ballots by a third party who then turns them in to election officials), and puts restrictions on the hours of operations for drop boxes.
Defendants in the lawsuit, which was announced minutes after DeSantis signed the bill, were named as Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, and 67 state supervisors of elections.
Later on Thursday, a separate lawsuit was filed by Common Cause, Florida branches of the NAACP and a disabilities rights group. That suit alleges discrimination against the state's Black, Latino, and disabled voters.
The new Florida law is being compared to recent Georgia legislation that also cuts back on the use of drop boxes and requires ID to vote by mail. (Unlike Georgia, Florida lawmakers backtracked on adding language that would make providing food and water to voters waiting in long lines illegal.)
Republican leaders in Iowa reduced the early voting period, as well as cut the number of hours available for people to cast their ballots on Election Day. In Texas, legislators are pushing a law that would make disabled people prove their disabilities in writing before they can vote absentee.
What Do Florida's New Election Laws Say? Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Curbing Mail-In Voting
The new omnibus law targets drop boxes, voter identification, mail ballot applications and third-party ballot collection at nursing homes.The state's new election laws will include stricter voter ID requirements for voting by mail, create limits on who can pick up and return a voter's ballot at drop boxes and ban election officials from using private funding to pay for elections.
According to New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, 361 bills with provisions that restrict voting had been introduced in 47 states as of March 24.
The actual signing of the bill was met with controversy when DeSantis announcedwould be the only media outlet allowed to observe. "This keeps us ahead of the curve," DeSantis said during a Fox News segment following the signing. "We're proud of the strides that we've made. We're not resting on our laurels and me signing this bill here says, 'Florida, your vote counts. Your vote is going to be cast with integrity and transparency.'"
Opinion: What Florida's attack on voting rights is really about .
Chris King writes that Florida's latest efforts to restrict voting rights are a deliberate effort to stop Democrats -- specifically Black and brown voters -- from gaining easy access to the electoral process.Like many other GOP-controlled states, Florida has made it even harder to vote, passing a bill to curb access to mail-in voting, implement stricter ID requirements and limit the use of ballot drop-boxes. While signing the bill into law last Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis -- barring all Florida press and making the bill signing event a Fox News exclusive -- cooed that this was an achievement for voting "integrity and transparency.