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August 2, 2021
After passing through the Florida state Legislature, a new voting bill heads to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk.
SB 90 places new restrictions on mail-in voting, limits ballot drop boxes, and ballot counting methodology. The bill received support from Republicans and scrutiny from Democrats along with voting rights and civil liberties advocates. In the Senate, the bill passed 23-17 and 77-40 in the House.
The bill is explained as, “An act relating to vote-by-mail ballots; amending s. 101.62, F.S.; limiting the duration of requests for vote-by-mail ballots to all elections held within a calendar year of a request; amending s. 101.68, F.S.; authorizing the canvassing of vote-by-mail ballots upon the completion of the public preelection testing of automatic tabulating equipment; providing for construction and applicability; providing an effective date.”
Specifically, SB 90 asks citizens to choose a ballot drop box at least 30 days prior to the election when voting by mail, and ballots can not be delivered by anyone. Drop boxes must be supervised by election officials while open. During voting, voter assistance is limited and food, water, or election-related materials can not be given out within 150 feet of a ballot box. Only non-partisan volunteers and staff working with election supervision may provide assistance here. Ballot counting observers must oversee the process for each political party official and candidate after polls close.
The legislation arrives with a wave of similar efforts to secure the right to vote across America. Concern for election integrity began, notably within the GOP, following the controversial 2020 Presidential Election.
Marc E. Elias, an attorney at Perkins Coie representing cases against new voting laws in Iowa and Georgia, plans to sue Florida if SB 90 is enacted. States that have already passed stricter voting laws have faced social and economic backlash.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: VANITY FAIR