Florida Passes Bill Limiting Mail-In Ballots

A poll worker casts a mail-in ballot for a voter at a drive-thru polling station during the primary election in Miami, Fla., August 18, 2020. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Florida’s Republican-dominated state House and Senate reached a consensus Friday to pass Senate Bill 90, which implements new voter identification requirements and limits mail-in voting.

The bill stipulates new signature requirements for voting by mail, specifies who can submit a completed mail-in ballot, and provides for increased oversight and observation during ballot tabulation. Governor Ron Desantis is expected to sign the bill soon.

“We’ve had voter ID. It works. It’s the right thing to do,” DeSantis said during a Fox News appearance Thursday night. He stated that Florida’s 2020 election was “fair and transparent, and the reforms we have coming will make it even better.”

“I’m trying to protect the sanctity of our elections,” Florida state Senator Travis Hutson told the Miami Herald.

The legislation also reduces drop box accessibility to early voting hours, mirroring the legislation that was recently enacted in Georgia, and requires that drop boxes are supervised by election officials when in use. Drop box locations must be established 30 days before the election.

Opponents argue the legislation is restrictive and designed to disenfranchise Floridians from voting. Some state lawmakers claim the voter bill is a form of retaliation after the 2020 election outcome favored the Democratic candidate.

“This bill is just a vindictive way of trying to punish people for an election that some people just didn’t like at the national level,” said Democratic Florida state Senator Audrey Gibson during a debate in chamber.

Florida’s bill comes after a similar initiative in Georgia received intense partisan backlash. Democrats in the Florida legislature called the proposal a “revival of Jim Crow in this state.”

“That bill that was passed in the state just north of us sent us a message, and the response to that bill should let us know we should not be doing this,” Democratic state Representative Michael Greico remarked during the House debate.

“Please do not Georgia my Florida,” Greico said.

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