Florida elections bill awaits governor’s signature

Florida’s Republican-led legislation passed a series of sweeping voter restrictions Thursday targeting mail-in-ballots and drop boxes.

Florida is just one signature away from making changes to voting as legislature passed an elections bill adding restrictions to voting.

Action News Jax obtained a physical copy of bill and found it’s a 48 page document. It’s headed to Governor Ron Desantis’ desk and he’s expected to sign it into law.

Passing the Florida senate with a vote of 23-17 and the house, 77-40, the new voting bill would add changes to the way Floridians vote by mail and drop boxes.

The pandemic increased the amount of mail-ballots and the new bill would add ID requirements for those requesting to vote by mail.

Senator Audrey Gibson is against the bill.

“It didn’t matter when there wasn’t larger numbers of people not voting by mail, it only became an issue when people exercised their right to vote the way they wanted to,” Senator Gibson said.

The bill would only make ballot drop boxes available when early voting sites are open, and they would have to be supervised by election officials.

Senator Gibson says it’s voter suppression and targets people of color.

“We don’t live in a monarchy and there is no king,” Senator Gibson said. “It’s an attack on the way we traditionally campaign, we do water, we do food trucks to encourage people.”

Action News Jax reached out to republican senators Aaron Bean, Travis Hutson and Jennifer Bradley but haven’t heard back yet.

Republicans who heavily back the bill say there’s no voter suppression happening, and they want to take previous executive orders and solidify them.

“I agree we had a great election because I believe it was our governor and supervisors that entered into these agreements through his executive orders,” Senator Hutson said in session. “A lot of the language we have in here, codifies that order to keep that great election we just talked about.”

Instead of every two cycles, the new bill would require voters to request a mail-in ballot every single general election cycle.

Action News Jax Ben Ryan shows us in a report what local leaders say about the bill.

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