Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces Proposals To Restrict Voting Access

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis revealed voting proposals Friday (February 19) aimed at restricting mail-in ballots, access to ballot drop boxes and other voting access measures, according to sources.

During a news conference in West Palm Beach, the Republican governor said he wants lawmakers to pass this these measures during their upcoming legislative session in March. DeSantis claims these proposals "will increase residents' confidence in Florida elections, strengthen election security, and transparency in the election process," CNN reported.

While they aren't much details about the proposed legislation, DeSantis said vote-by-mail ballots would be sent out to those who request one instead of mass mailing to all residents. Voters would also have to request an absentee ballot each election year, he added. The governor also called ballot drop boxes "a big problem" and that residents should either mail their absentee ballot or drop it off at an election office.

"Voting rights groups like the ACLU and League of Women Voters point out that volunteers who collect ballots can be helpful for seniors, people with disabilities, and people who live in low-income communities that may not have their own transportation," WFLA reported. Drop boxes were also an alternative to people who wanted to avoid large crowds at the offices during the pandemic.

Other proposals include prohibiting counties from accepting financial help from private organizations for "get out the vote" initiatives and bolstering the signature verification process. He also noted that he wants to "address ballot harvesting" in Florida by not allowing individuals to submit other people's mail-in ballots except for immediate family members.

"We want, obviously, everyone to vote. But we don't want anyone to cheat. And we want to make sure that we strike that appropriate balance," DeSantis said.

Sources said that Democrats were looking to increase Black voter turnout last year during the election season, so it remains to be seen how these rolled back voting measures will affect voting access for communities of color in the Sunshine State.

Photo: Getty Images

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