Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed legislation on Friday to combat voter integrity that can potentially cause voter suppression across the state in upcoming elections.
At a news conference in West Palm Beach, DeSantis proposed a slate of legislation that he says will increase residents’ confidence in Florida elections.
According to Florida Politics, DeSantis and Republican leaders have touted Florida as the “gold standard” in election laws, after the 2020 election went on smoothly. Yet, DeSantis feels although we should celebrate this feat, we should not get too comfortable.
“Today, we are taking action to ensure that Florida remains a leader on key issues regarding our electoral process,” DeSantis said.
“By strengthening these election integrity protections, we will ensure that our elections remain secure and transparent, and that Florida’s electoral process remains a blueprint for other states to follow,” DeSantis added.
Although the details are scarce, the proposed legislation would include some of the following measures: ballot integrity, public access to election information and transparency of election reporting.
To combat ballot dishonesty, the legislation would include addressing the use of ballot drop boxes and ballot harvesting to prevent anyone from possessing a ballot other than their own, or an immediate family member’s.
The legislation would also combat the amount of vote-by-mail ballots by requiring them to only be sent out to residents who requested them.
DeSantis also wants to require that ballot signatures match the most recent signature on file, but Florida State University senior and history major Sydney Wright says that is unfair.
“That is very limiting, because many change their signature in nature,” Wright said. “We don’t know what parameters an individual can be under when initially giving a signature.”
The governor also wants lawmakers to support the vote-by-mail signature verification process by allowing Florida political parties and candidates to observe the voters signature matching process.
The legislation also calls for transparency in the election process that would prohibit countries from receiving grants from private third-party organizations for “get out the vote” initiatives. In addition supervisors of election would be required to post “over-vote” ballots to be considered by the canvassing board.
Other proposals would require real-time reporting of voter turnout data and supervisors of elections to report how many ballots have been requested, received and are left to be counted.
According to CNN, Gov. DeSantis peddled false claims during the press conference about election security, though there is no evidence of wide-spread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Despite these claims, the state legislature’s Republican leaders said Friday that they, “join the Governor in his efforts to continue to make Florida the national leader on election integrity.”
The legislation comes behind more than 100 bills that have been filed across the U.S. since the November election, also aimed at reforming election procedures.
Brennan Center’s voting rights and elections council member, Eliza Sweren-Becker, told CNN that state lawmakers are using the “lies about voter fraud to limit ballot access.”
Sweren-Becker also feels that Desantis’ proposals are consistent with policies that have been offered to restrict voter access. The governor stands by his proposals in hopes that they will strengthen Florida as a voting state.
To learn more about voting in Florida, visit myflorida.com.