TAMPA, Fla — Across the country, we are seeing Republican-led legislation tighten up election laws.
Experts say it’s based on claims of voting fraud, often brought on by former President Donald Trump.
“This is a very partisan issue like every other issue that gets a lot of coverage and is controversial, and all you need to know is that vote by the legislators in both the house and senate was straight out along party lines,” said USF political science professor Dr. Susan MacManus.
Florida’s new restrictions come in one of the nation’s most critical battleground states as Republicans argue the elections need to be more secure.
Democrats say the measures will restrict voting access, especially to minorities, and Florida had no such problems in the last election.
The new bill limits the use of drop boxes and requires them to be supervised in person by election officials.
Dropbox locations will need to be picked at least a month before elections and will not be available after hours.
“Drop boxes became a very important part of the pandemic period when people were afraid to go into a voting place in person and had no or little faith in the fact that the mail would be delivered in time,” said MacManus.
There will be limits on what’s called “ballot harvesting” when a person collects several mail-in ballots and delivers them to drop boxes.
The bill will also require voters to request mail-in ballots on a more regular basis.
The no-solicitation zone outside polling places will be expanded with restrictions on who can hand out items to voters in line, including water and food.
“One of the things that’s really important to recognize is that high growth states like Florida have a much higher level of responsibly that voter rolls are accurate to maintain the integrity of the process,” said MacManus.
Governor Ron Desantis is expected to sign the bill into law.