Florida's Voting Restrictions
A Bill is to be passed in the state of Florida that allows for even tighter voting restrictions post the 2020 election.
Florida, one of the battleground states, is going to see a major shift in voting policies in the next few years. Florida legislatures passed an election overhaul bill on Thursday in a confirmed effort by Republicans to reshape the electoral system in the state. The lasting impact of Donald Trump's election still affects the political atmosphere in this swing state.
The new bill will add more identification requirements when requesting an absentee ballot. It will also severely cut the number of drop boxes available and require that, for each election, the individual must request an absentee ballot rather than automatically receiving one in the mail.
Many Florida politicians have identified these new voter guidelines as “unnecessary” and “just another way to make voting more difficult”. In addition to the stricter guidelines, researchers have predicted that it will have a discriminative effect on voters of color.
This push will have the most impact on mail-in voting, which is being measured as the main reason for taking such actions. In the 2020 electoral race, more than 2.1 million Democrats cast mail ballots compared to the 1.4 million Republicans. This alarming statistic has pushed many Democrats to fight back the new voter guidelines to halt the bill’s disproportionality. However, when asked about fraudulent activity in the past election that would inspire the new bill, Republicans often remain quiet.
In the past 5 years, supervisor respondents have said there was very little potential for fraud. It's noted that most of their dropboxes are already under physical or video surveillance. It is becoming evident to many Florida lawmakers that certain facts pertaining to the assertability of the bill are underrepresented and lack sufficient evidence.
Within hours after the bill was passed by Gov. Brian Kemp, Democrats and civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the legality of the bill. All of this is sure to unfold in the next couple of months.
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Ryan Ford '23,