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Florida is already being sued over its new voter suppression law

A group of civil rights and voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit against Florida’s new law minutes after it was signed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

By Emily Singer - May 06, 2021
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Republicans have already been hit with a lawsuit over the state’s new voter suppression law, minutes after GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation that makes it harder to vote.

The lawsuit, filed by voting rights and civil rights groups, accuses Republican state legislators of passing a law “that purports to solve problems that do not exist.”

The lawsuit says the legislation, S.B. 90,” caters to a dangerous lie about the 2020 election that threatens our most basic democratic values, and, in the end, makes it harder to vote without adequate justification for doing so.”

The new law dramatically limits the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots, saying they can only be used during early voting hours, and forces them to be “continuously monitored in person by an employee of the supervisor’s office when the drop box is accessible for deposit of ballots.”

Election supervisors who violate this new law could be hit with $25,000 fines.

The new law also requires voters to request absentee ballots more frequently. Until DeSantis signed this legislation into law, voters could request an absentee ballot for two general election cycles. This bill requires voters who wish to vote by mail to request an absentee ballot every cycle.

The lawsuit says the law was “crafted to and will operate to make it more difficult for certain types of voters to participate in the state’s elections, including those voters who generally wish to vote with a vote-by-mail ballot and voters who have historically had to overcome substantial hurdles to reach the ballot box, such as Florida’s senior voters, youngest voters, and minority voters.”

Florida is the latest Republican-controlled state to pass a voter suppression law in the wake of Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

Republicans have been working to pass voter suppression laws after Trump lied that the election was stolen from him thanks to fraud, and has pushed for restrictions on things like voting by mail and limiting early voting periods.

“Today I want to outline the steps that we must take to have an election system in this country that is honest, fair, and accurate,” Trump said back in February in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Trump said, “We need one Election Day, not 45, 30, one day like it’s been,” and added that “There should be a legitimate reason for someone to vote absentee, has to have a reason. We should eliminate the insanity of mass and very corrupt mail-in voting.”

Republican state legislators have been following his command.

Republicans in Georgia passed a law that drastically cuts back on the use of ballot drop boxes, requires ID to vote by mail, and makes it a crime to give out refreshments to voters waiting in long lines.

That law has also been met with multiple lawsuits, as well as condemnation from business groups who have raised “concern” with efforts to make it harder to vote.

In Iowa, Republicans cut back on the state’s early voting period, and even slashed the number of hours voters have to cast ballots on Election Day itself.

Meanwhile, Texas is moving toward passing a law that would force the disabled to prove their disability in writing in order to be able to vote absentee.

And Republicans in Arizona tried to pass a bill that would remove roughly 200,000 people off the state’s Permanent Early Voting List — which voters can sign up for to permanently receive absentee ballots. The bill failed by one vote, but Republicans could try again to pass the legislation in the future.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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