Sen. Marco Rubio is attacking voting rights legislation introduced by Rep. Val Demings, his likely Democratic opponent in 2022.
Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) introduced a bill on Tuesday aimed at ensuring every legal absentee ballot cast is counted.
In a statement on her House website announcing the Every Vote Counts Act, Demings said, "Every American must have the opportunity to vote — no matter their political affiliation."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) responded to the proposed bill by calling it a Democratic power grab, telling a conservative website in Florida, "These guys don't want there to be any election laws, she's part of their national Marxist strategy."
It is not the first time Rubio has claimed something he opposed is "Marxist."
According to the statement on her website, Demings' legislation would require that every state have a tracking system for absentee ballots so that voters know if their vote has been counted. It would also require them to provide ballot drop boxes to collect the absentee ballots and create a nationwide standard for checking signatures to ensure that valid ballots are not wrongly thrown out.
Jon Greenbaum, the chief counsel and senior deputy director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, praised Demings' bill in a statement:
As politicians across the country move to limit the use of ballot drop boxes and place unnecessary and overly burdensome requirements on mail-in ballots, we need the Every Vote Counts Act to make certain every voter can cast their ballot and have that ballot count. Signature matching requirements and the restriction of ballot drop boxes have negative effects on Black Americans and other communities of color. This bill will put a stop to these discriminatory acts, and encourage all Americans to go out and make their voice heard. Our democracy demands participation to represent the will of the people.
Rubio's accusation that Demings is part of a "national Marxist strategy" is the latest example of a scare tactic Republicans are using against Democrats to fire up the GOP base ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, including Rubio's run for reelection to the Senate.
Last month Rubio called a graduate program in social justice at the University of Central Florida "neo-Marxism" and "cultural Marxism," "a way to tear apart capitalism."
On June 10 he tweeted a video of an appearance he made on Fox News along with the comment "Critical race theory is Marxist inspired indoctrination and has no place in our schools."
"Critical race theory" is another term being thrown around by Republicans to try to motivate their base to vote in the 2022 midterms. It and "Marxism" are lumped together as divisive and politically motivated hatred for the United States, relying on the GOP's own slanted definition of the terms.
Demings announced a run for the Senate seat held by Rubio on June 9. Democrats hope the former Orlando police chief can thwart "defund the police" attacks Republicans have lobbed.
Florida is a competitive state, but Republicans have narrowly won it in the last few election cycles.
Donald Trump won it in both 2016 and 2020.
Rubio won reelection to Senate in 2016, defeating his Democratic opponent by nearly 8 points. In 2018, Rick Scott defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by just 0.2%.
The Cook Political Report currently rates the Florida Senate race Likely Republican.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.