Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed an election reform bill pushed by Republicans that would protect the ballot box, according to a report by The Hill.
The measure comes on the heels of Republicans’ disappointment over the 2020 presidential election results that some believe to have been fraudulent, and the vote was primarily along party lines in the state legislature. While Republicans held the majority, civil rights groups along with 67 of the state’s county elections supervisors objected.
According to The Hill’s report, DeSantis made a point of signing the measure live on Fox News, and even went so far as to shut out local media stations that had planned to cover the signing ceremony.
The bill requires voters who plan to vote absentee or change their registration to supply a driver’s license number or other state identification or social security number.
The bill also limits access to the absentee ballot drop boxes that were made available in most of Florida’s counties, requiring voters who want to cast the ballot to submit a new request every election, versus every four years.
Additionally, it bans election workers from distributing food or water to those in line within 150 feet of the polling place. It also keeps Flordia counties from entering into an greements that would change election procedures and from accepting grants or private funds for election-related expenses from private funders, such as those that were tied to Mark Zuckerberg.
“Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity,” DeSantis said. “Elections should be free and fair, and these changes will ensure this continues to be the case in the Sunshine State.”
Almost immediately after DeSantis signed the legislation, Democratic attorney Marc Elias said his team is challenging the bill on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.
“Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Republicans are more interested in holding on to power than ensuring fair access to our democracy,” said Manny Diaz, the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. “They all praised the quality of the November elections here in Florida and now they are changing the rules. For the Florida Republicans, this bill is not about election integrity, it is about blatant voter suppression, just because they can.”