“Right now I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” the governor said as he signed it. “We’re also banning ballot harvesting. We’re not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box.”
Republicans have previously said they know of know such problems in Florida, and elections supervisors across the state did not ask for any of the changes, warning that some of the new rules may prove cumbersome and expensive to implement.
Democrats and voter advocates have assailed the law as a blatant attempt impede access to the polls so that Republicans might regain an advantage.
“The legislation has a deliberate and disproportionate impact on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students and communities of color. It’s a despicable attempt by a one party ruled legislature to choose who can vote in our state and who cannot. It’s undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.
The league joined the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans and others in assailing the new law in a federal lawsuit filed minutes after the signing.
A separate lawsuit by the NAACP and Common Cause alleges that the new law makes it more difficult for people who are Black, Latino or disabled to vote.
“For far too long, Florida’s lawmakers and elected officials have created a vast array of hurdles that have made it more difficult for these and other voters to make their voices heard,” the groups said in their lawsuit, which they filed in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, the state capital.
Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, a former Florida governor who announced his challenge of DeSantis this week, tweeted, “This is the difference between @GovRonDeSantis and me. He locks out the public and caters to FOX News. When I was Governor, everyone was invited in — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. And when I’m Governor again, this will be a Florida for all.”
While Georgia has become the current flashpoint of the national battle over elections laws, other states — led by Republicans still unsettled by then-President Donald Trump’s loss in November — have moved to rewrite elections laws. The…