On Monday, Florida’s Senate advanced a watered-down version of the hardline election integrity bill proposed by Governor Ron DeSantis’ to crack down on potential voter fraud.
The second house of the state legislature will be faced with either proposing amendments or voting to pass Senate Bill 90, which Florida’s Senate voted 23-17 to approve.
Among the bill’s several new limitations on current election processes, a few of the most significant changes are intended to restrict access to drop boxes, widespread mail-in voting, and identification standards.
Differing from the original election changes proposed by Governor DeSantis, the bill passed by the state Senate would not outlaw drop boxes entirely. Instead, drop boxes would only be accessible during early voting hours and they would be manned by security to prevent tampering.
Under the bill, voter identification, in the form of a Florida state driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, or social security number, would be required for Floridians to register to vote and request mail-in ballots.
To prevent fraudulent “ballot harvesting” that was rampant in previous elections across the country, the bill would restrict any one individual from possessing more than two ballots, at most, in the event a person needs to assist someone with turning in their vote.
If the bill is passed by both houses and signed into law, ballot processers will be allotted more time to count mail-in votes, but they will be required to quickly report results.
Furthermore, Floridians who prefer to vote by mail would be required to request a new mail-in ballot every single election year. Existing law only requires people to request them every two election cycles.
Although bribing people for votes is already illegal, SB 90 also explicitly prevents anyone, except election workers, from passing out food and beverages within 150 feet of voting facilities, including polls and drop boxes.
Since the Florida Senate’s bill is not yet final, it may be subject to changes if the House chooses to propose amendments.
If approved by Florida’s House and Senate, the bill will head to Governor DeSantis’ desk where he will either veto or sign it into law.