Florida lawmakers approve bill adding restrictions to voting

Politics

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — First Georgia, now Florida, with a new voting law touted by Republicans as making the system more secure and guarding against fraud, but condemned by Democrats as voter suppression.

“This is disingenuous. This is all about voter suppression. This is about making it harder for hardworking butts to get to the polls,” said Democratic State Sen. Janet Cruz.

The new Florida legislation includes new voter ID and signature requirements and stopping the mailing of unsolicited ballots to voters.

There are new rules on ballot drop boxes, like making them available only when early voting sites are open in some counties. It also only allows election workers to distribute food and water near polling places.

“It is all about continuous improvement to make sure we have a system that is going to work well to ensure we have that safe, secure, and transparent election cycle,” said Republican State Sen. Joe Gruters.

Democrats have compared the legislation to a bill that became law in Georgia that sparked pushback from prominent corporations.

A similar bill that restricts mail-in ballots and early voting hours is also in the works in Texas. Supporters of that bill say critics are just trying to stir up controversy.

“Many folks are trying to draw this into a national debate, and these groups send out emails to raise money, to get people riled up, and really that entire discussion just divides us,” said Texas Republican State Sen. Bryan Hughes.

In Florida, lawmakers revised their legislation to take out more restrictive measures.

Still, the Florida Supervisors of Elections president called the legislation “a solution looking for a problem.”

“These changes were not necessary. Our association did not support the House bill or the Senate bill, and that is a bipartisan gathering of the supervisors of election,” said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the new bill into law.

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