Florida’s legislature has passed tough new voting restrictions, putting the crucial state at the forefront of a nationwide wave of Republican efforts to clamp down on turnout following Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
The bill, which closely reflects similar Republican tactics in Georgia Y Michigan, millions of voters are likely to find it more difficult to express their democratic opinion. The new barriers to voting are expected to particularly impact minority communities.
The legislation introduces a plethora of new obstacles to voting by mail in the wake of the increase in voting by mail for Democrats in the 2020 elections. It also imposes restrictions on the supply of water to citizens lining up to cast their vote.
Black lawmakers expressed dismay when the bill passed Thursday night. Democratic Rep. Angela Nixon said she was “distraught and discouraged,” the Washington Post reported.
“They are making policies that are detrimental to our communities,” he told his fellow Republicans.
Also Democratic legislator Anna Eskamani told the Miami Herald: “We had, as the Republican governor said, one of the best-run elections in the country and, nevertheless, today, the majority party through last minute maneuvers approved a bill. of the voter suppression law ”.
As Eskamani noted, the move by Florida Republicans to clamp down on voting is especially uncomfortable, even because of the twisted logic that the Republican Party has deployed in states across the country. The restrictions were passed in the name of the “integrity of the voters”, following the former president’s false claim that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 elections.
Yet in Florida, Republicans boasted – and continue to brag – about how well the presidential race was conducted. Trump won the traditional battlefield status, which has 29 critical votes in the electoral college, by about 3%.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was caught by his own contradictory reasoning when he told Fox News Thursday night that he would now sign the bill. “So we think we lead the nation,” he said, referring to what the 2020 ballot was like in his state, “but we are trying to stay ahead to make sure these elections go well.”
Florida’s attack on the right to vote is part of an astonishing Republican assault on the heart of American democracy. According to the Brennan Center, which oversees voting rights, around 361 bills containing restrictive provisions have been introduced in what its analysts call “a backlash to the historic 2020 electoral turnout, under the pretext of responding to baseless and racist accusations of electoral fraud”.
The Florida bill focuses especially on voting by mail. It targets the use of mailboxes in which ballots can be deposited by mail and forces voters to reapply for ballots by mail every two years instead of four, a move critics fear will sow confusion and suppress participation. .
The attack on vote by mail is ironic given that the state has a long history of using that voting method without any notable challenge. In several previous cycles, Republican voters predominantly used vote-by-mail with no objection.
But in 2020 there was a sharp increase in Democratic voters who resorted to casting their ballots by mail as a safety measure in the pandemic. Of a total of more than 11 million Floridians who voted in the presidential race, nearly 5 million did so by mail, about 44%.
Suddenly, the practice of voting by mail has become a threat to the integrity of voters, according to the Republican Party.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism