Florida Republicans have submitted their entry in the voter suppression sweepstakes apparently being carried out nationwide, with a bill passed by the state legislature that Gov. Ron DeSantis will “of course” sign. (That’s what has to be going on, right? Republicans from different states are competing on this?)
The Florida bill includes some very familiar provisions, like restrictions on voting by mail—as 40% of Floridians did in 2020—limiting access to ballot drop boxes, and targeting donations of water or food to people standing in long voting lines. Drop boxes will only be available during early voting hours and must be staffed by election officials. So if early voting hours don’t work with your work schedule, a drop box won’t be an option.
To those familiar provisions—because Republicans in other states have already made them familiar—the Florida bill adds some special touches. Voters will have to reapply for mail ballots every two years, rather than every four years as is currently the case, and:
Florida follows several states, including Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, and—most notoriously—Georgia in passing voting restrictions in recent months, with restrictive bills moving forward in several other states, including Arizona, New Hampshire, and Texas.
Republicans have long sought to limit voting rights, knowing that if they can make it more difficult to vote, they will benefit, since many Democratic voters belong to groups vulnerable to voting restrictions. But their war on voting gained extra urgency when Donald Trump decided that he lost because of massive fraud. Despite one court loss after another, that Big Lie lit the fire that led to the huge number of voting restrictions Republicans are pushing in state after state.
No amount of Republican control in a state or over its existing laws seems to be enough to stop Republicans from declaring their own policies deficient, simply because Trump decided those policies were responsible for his loss.
“The governor praised Florida’s election performance as the gold standard, then he quickly pivoted to the national narrative, claiming without evidence that there was fraud and voting irregularities that would plague the state without these changes,” Democratic state Sen. Janet Cruz was quoted in The Washington Post. “If you can’t win by promoting the best candidate, you win by making it harder for the other side to vote.”