Is FL's SB-90 voting bill unfair to voters?
Bills like these are being passed in many states, indicating a need and desire to have more control over mail voting and ballot drop-boxes. Fox News reported that Gov. DeSantis, who signed the bill into law on Thursday, explained that the bill's restrictions are to create more order and honesty in the voting system: 'We've had absentee voting in Florida for a long time. You request the ballot. You get it. And you mail it in. But to just indiscriminately send them out is not a recipe for success.' While some people may see this bill as an attack, those who want the US to continue having free and fair elections will understand that this bill is going to make Florida elections more trustworthy and organized.
This bill, and others like it, follows the tumultuous recent presidential election in which many citizens had concerns over the efficacy and honesty of mail-in ballots. Bills like these will actually protect citizens who vote legally while also preventing voter fraud. This should be a top priority given how the United States cannot function without our free and fair elections.
According to NPR, 'Earlier versions of the legislation would have banned the use of ballot drop boxes altogether, but last-minute changes allowed for their use under new limitations.' Points in the bill, such as ones requiring the provision of 'certain persons with reasonable access to ballot materials,' ensure that people who may need more accommodation will receive it, making the voting process free, fair, and equal. Clearly, the lawmakers are considering the fair treatment of voters. Otherwise, those changes wouldn't have been made.
The 2020 presidential election saw some of the biggest obstacles to voter turnout ever in an American election, namely the pandemic. Despite these difficulties, the highest voter turnout ever was recorded, primarily due to various early, mail-in, and absentee voting options. These options were convenient and kept people safe, making them extremely popular. Who doesn't want to do things in a more efficient, easy, and safe manner? Florida Republicans.
The Republican-led Florida legislature has voted to take away these options from Florida voters unfairly. This is unfair because people like these options and because there is no reason to ban them. The 2020 election was the most secure election in history with no significant fraud, despite widespread use of all voting types. Those in favor of this type of law will point to false claims made by Donald Trump and other fringe actors. Make no mistake; these claims are lies intended to muddy the waters.
As many Democratic representatives in the Florida legislature have pointed out, these restrictions will disproportionately affect the working poor, black and brown minority communities, and the disabled. The bill would eliminate ballot drop-off locations and require voters to renew their ballot applications every year. There is no significant proof that either of these issues generates voter fraud, so it is unfair to punish these groups by making voting more difficult. Probably the most unreasonable provision in this new law is the prohibition on the distribution of food or water to those waiting in line to vote. This is unfair to all voters in the state, regardless of party affiliation.
- On July 30, 2020, Trump tweeted that universal mail-in voting would make the 2020 election the most “inaccurate and fraudulent” in history.
- A Stanford University study found that between 1996 to 2018 participation rose 2 percentage points in three states that rolled out universal voting by mail.
- Pew Research Center revealed the number of voters in the 2020 election soared to 158.4 million, which is more than two-thirds of eligible voters.
- According to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%.
- On Thursday, May 6, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new voting law restricting voting by mail and drop box voting. He believes the bill protects the “integrity and transparency” of Florida’s elections.
- Both the League of Women Voters of Florida and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sued the state to block the restrictions and stated the limits would “disproportionately hurt Black, Latino, and disabled voters.”