Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Election Integrity Bill Into Law
Florida became the latest state to move ahead with new election rules meant to further safeguard the voting process as well as enhance election integrity after suffering a major blow following the 2020 election.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed an election integrity bill on Thursday which would introduce a number of safeguards to protect elections in the state — which includes limiting ballot box drop boxes, enhancing voter ID requirements, and more restrictions on voting by mail and ballot harvesting.
The Republican governor signed the measure into law as he appeared in an exclusive broadcast on Fox & Friends.
“Me signing this bill here says, ‘Florida, your vote counts. Your vote is going to cast with integrity and transparency, and this is a great place for democracy,’” DeSantis said.
In a social media post, the governor of the Sunshine State, shared more details of the proposal maintaining that the law is meant to boost election integrity.
“Florida took action this legislative session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections,” DeSantis said.
Florida took action this legislative session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections. I’d like to thank the leaders on this issue – @WiltonSimpson, @ChrisSprowls, @dennisbaxley, and @GovGoneWild pic.twitter.com/ZCdrPm2rsZ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 6, 2021
Among others, the election integrity bill “prohibits the mass mailing of ballots — a point of national contention in the 2020 presidential election — while banning ballot harvesting, strengthening voter identification, and preventing “private money from administering elections in our state.”
“While Florida already requires identification to vote, Senate Bill 90 will require additional identification information when changing any voter registration information, or requesting a vote by mail ballot, preventing fraud and securing the voter rolls,” the measure stated.
“The proposal strikes a reasonable balance for families and those in elder care facilities while simultaneously banning ballot harvesting by political operatives.”
The measure also included provision disallowing a person from handling more than two ballots other than those of immediate family members — although it noted some exceptions like ballots collected during supervised voting at assisted living facilities and nursing homes to make sure no undue burden is caused for Florida’s most vulnerable.
“The proposal bans the mass mailing of ballots, ensuring that vote-by-mail ballots are only sent to the individuals that requested them, and only if requested for each election cycle they intend to vote by mail,” it added.
“The bill also increases election transparency, allowing each political party and candidate guaranteed access to observe signature matching reviews by the canvassing board, and allows for appointed watchers on their behalf,” it added.
Chris Sprowls, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, also took to Twitter to make the announcement.
Election integrity is essential to a functioning democracy. We should ensure that our elections process remains secure, accessible, and transparent. Thank you @GovRonDeSantis, @GovGoneWild & our partners in the FL Senate for their work to protect our most sacred civic duty.
— Chris Sprowls (@ChrisSprowls) May 6, 2021
“Election integrity is essential to a functioning democracy. We should ensure that our elections process remains secure, accessible, and transparent. Thank you @GovRonDeSantis, @GovGoneWild & our partners in the FL Senate for their work to protect our most sacred civic duty.
Leader in ballot integrity
DeSantis said in a statement that “Florida took action this legislative session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections.”
“Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity,” he added.
Elections, he continued, should be “free and fair,” adding the changes will “ensure this continues to be the case in the Sunshine State.”
Election integrity advocates, including Heritage Action, have already praised the new election rules — but Democrats described it as “suppressive” and a “revival of Jim Crow in the state.”
“This bill is the revival of Jim Crow in this state whether the sponsors admit it or not,” Rep. Omari Hardy, a Democrat, commented echoing the language used by Democratic President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to describe similar state election integrity efforts in recent weeks like the one passed in Georgia.
The “Election Integrity Act of 2021” passed in the Peach State will be “another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible and fair” and to address questions raised during the 2020 elections according to its Governor Brian Kemp.
Georgia’s far-ranging new election law included provisions for new ID requirements for mail-in votes, limiting the use of ballot drop boxes as well as giving the state’s Legislature more reign on election matters over local elections officials. It also bans volunteers from handing out food, water and other tokens to voters in waiting lines.
Critics, however, said the new election guidelines will “restrict voting rights.”
Nonetheless, multiple polls show the majority of Americans supporting basic election integrity measures — and said that voter ID is ‘not discriminatory.’
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 13, 2021
A recent Rasmussen Report survey also found that the majority of voters say it’s more important to prevent cheating in elections than to make it easier to vote.