Florida could become the latest state to limit access to drop boxes and mail-in ballots once Governor Ron DeSantis signs Senate Bill 90 into law. Despite considerable opposition from Democrats, the contentious GOP-backed legislation passed in the Florida statehouse on Thursday, April 29, according to Florida’s Senate site. It’s been sent to Governor DeSantis’ desk and is expected to be turned into a law within days.
SB 90 is the latest Republican proposed bill armed with several restrictions for voters. In March, the Brennan Center for Justice found Republican legislators across the country have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. At the time, five of those bills had already become laws. The report was also published one day before Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed SB 202 into law.
Not only will SB 90 make it harder for Floridians to cast their ballots by mail, it will force voters to submit vote-by-mail requests more often than currently required. The law will retroactively cancel voters’ vote-by-mail requests, and make it illegal for voters to ask friends, family or caregivers to pick up or drop off ballots.
This clamps down access for elderly voters, working voters, voters without vehicles and all Floridians who cannot physically turn in their own ballots. Although more than 1.5 million Floridians used drop boxes in the 2020 election, SB 90 looks to eliminate several of those secure drop boxes. Similar to Georgia’s legislation, the bill will ban outside groups from giving snacks and water to voters in line at polling places.
Bay News 9 reported during a debate on the House floor, State Representative Omari Hardy said, “This bill is the revival of Jim Crow in this state whether the sponsors admit it or not.”
“It’s a sad day,” Rep. Geraldine Thompson said before the bill was passed in the state’s House of Representatives. “It’s a sad day personally, because people like me, not long ago in history were not able to vote. And I know personally the path and sacrifice it has taken to get here. We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.”
When asked about the bill during an interview with Fox News, DeSantis said that he will “for sure” sign the bill. “We’ve had voter ID. It works. It’s the right thing to do,” DeSantis said. The Republican also mentioned that Florida’s 2020 election was “fair and transparent, and the reforms we have coming will make it even better.”
Among the organizations hoping DeSantis vetoes the bill is Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight. On Friday (April 30), they tweeted, “Late last night, the state legislature passed #SB90, which restricts Floridians’ freedom to vote following record turnout in the 2020 elections. Call @GovRonDeSantis NOW to demand he VETO SB 90: 850-717-9337.”