On Thursday, Florida’s legislature, which is also predominantly Republican, passed a bill restricting voter’s rights. The bill will make it harder for voters to access drop boxes as well as mail-in ballots. The move is close behind that of Georgia, another predominantly red state. Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill, shortly. According to NBC News, the bill was passed 77-40 in the state’s House and 23-17 in the Senate.
The Florida bill has added stringent requirements for drop box staffing including supervision by election officials, which will increase the workload of staff. If the law is signed, which is almost certain as DeSantis has already indicated that he would do so, drop boxes could be used only after early voting commences in the state. Earlier voters could use drop boxes at any time of the day.
It also requires voters to apply more frequently for mail-in ballots unlike before. The bill also widens the “no solicitation” area around polling booths. Soliciting includes giving or an attempt to give any item to a voter by certain people. Rights groups say that this clause will stop activists from giving water or food to those Floridians who stand in long lines, in the sweltering heat of the Sunshine State, to cast their ballots.
These sweeping changes have been brought by the GOP after Trump complained about the results and has never accepted his loss. Most of the Democratic votes were received through mail-in ballots and drop boxes and the Republicans have noted this trend and are passing bills to buck the trend.
In the Presidential elections in November in Florida, the Democrats outvoted the GOP by more than 680,000 absentee ballots by mail. The total number of Floridians who cast their vote in the November election was 11 million. Out of these about 4.8 million cast mail ballots. This was an unprecedented 44 percent of the total votes that were cast in the state.
Although Trump won the state by 3 percent, these absentee ballots by mail in favor of the Democrats jolted the GOP and they also decided to rein in the mail and drop box system as Republicans lost their premier position of mail votes for the first time as it went in favor of the Democrats.
Unlike Georgia, no company or corporation in Florida spoke against the bill. The bill is expected to become law soon but civil rights activists could oppose it just like they have done so after the Georgia bill was passed.