TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's GOP-controlled Legislature on Thursday night sent a controversial election laws bill to the governor for his signature that critics say will make it harder for Floridians to vote.
What You Need To Know
- SB 90, a bill amending rules for drop boxes and mail-in ballots, will go to the governor
- The Florida House debated the bill vigorously and sent amendments back to the Senate
- A Daytona Beach Republican said it 'creates good common-sense revisions to our laws'
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign SB 90 into law.
The Florida House of Representatives debated the bill before passing it 77-40 Wednesday, with state Rep. Omari Hardy, D-West Palm Beach, calling it the "revival of Jim Crow in this state whether the sponsors admit it or not."
On Thursday, the day before the end of the legislative session, the Senate amended the bill, then passed it 77-40 and sent it back to the House, which amended it and passed it 23-17 — setting it up for DeSantis’ signature.
Opponents of the legislation fear that it will mostly affect people of color, the elderly and the disabled, among others. They also point out that vote-by-mail had become more popular among Democrats in the 2020 election.
The legislation follows a new law in Georgia also criticized for its tightening of voter accessibility, including regulation of drop boxes. Such legislation followed former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.
The measure — which was opposed by some county supervisors of elections, some of whom are Republicans — tightens rules for ballot drop boxes and mail-in ballots.
“This bill creates good common-sense revisions to our election laws that will better ensure the integrity of elections, and why wouldn’t you want to do that?” Rep. Tom Leek, R-Daytona Beach, told colleagues during debate Wednesday.
But Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, said before Wednesday's vote that “It’s a sad day personally, because people like me, not long ago in history were not able to vote. And I know personally the path and sacrifice it has taken to get here. We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.”
Wednesday’s House action followed Monday's activity in the Senate, where that chamber voted 23-17 in favor of SB 90. Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, broke from Republicans and voted against it. The Senate otherwise voted along party lines.