In the months since a hotly contested presidential election, several states have advanced measures meant to increase security and boost voter confidence.
Florida has become the latest state to pass such a bill, which includes regulations on mail-in voting, voter ID requirements, and so-called ballot harvesting.
Details of the legislation
After being approved in both the state House and Senate, the legislation will now be sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.
The bill prohibits private money from being used to fund election operations, improves signature verification on ballots, and further restricts absentee voting.
Third-party voter registration and ballot collection are also banned in the proposal.
Furthermore, the proposed law prevents organizations from sending unsolicited absentee ballots and forces individuals to apply for a mail-in ballot more often instead of receiving them indefinitely after a first-time application.
Other parts of the bill expand access to voting information, including earlier canvassing of election results by the state’s counties. Poll watchers, candidates, political parties, and committees will also have additional access to certain procedures and materials if the measure is signed into law.
“Easy to vote and hard to cheat”
In a statement from a DeSantis spokesperson, it was clear that the governor supports the bill be believes will “ensure that Florida remains a national leader in election security, integrity, and transparency.”
Groups like Heritage Action, which has endorsed similar measures elsewhere in the U.S., are also touting the Florida proposal.
“These measures, which Heritage Action advocated for and partnered with thousands of grassroots activists to support, will help ensure it is easy to vote and hard to cheat in Florida,” declared Executive Director Jessica Anderson.
On the left, however, a predictable chorus of criticism has already erupted, with many opponents claiming that the voter reform efforts are akin to Jim Crow-era laws that specifically treated people differently based on their race. Of course, nothing in the Florida legislation is inherently discriminatory and all of the rules would be applied to all Floridians, regardless of demographic characteristics.
In reality, Democrats opposed to such measures might be concerned about future elections amid the possibility that if these laws had been in place in states like Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin, there a chance Joe Biden would not be president today.