TALLAHASSEE, Florida (PNN) - April 30, 2021 - Florida’s Republican-controlled Senate on April 29 passed a new bill that places several restrictions around vote-by-mail and ballot drop boxes.
The bill, SB 90, was passed in the state House 77-40 and in the Senate 23-17. It now goes to Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it.
If signed, it would require signature verification for voters, provided by a “wet signature” physically signed on paper kept on file, and access to drop boxes would be limited to early voting hours unless they are located at election supervisors’ offices. Drop boxes would also have to be monitored in person by an elections official, and ID would be required when dropping off ballots.
Other aspects in the bill include limitations on who can return a finished mail-in ballot, preventing election officials from entering consent agreements, and requiring voters to request a mail ballot every election cycle, rather than every two, as under current law.
The legislation would also ban anyone from “engaging in any activity with the intent to influence or effect influencing a voter” but allow election supervisors to provide “non-partisan assistance,” such as giving items, including food and water, to voters within the restricted zones.
The bill also requires supervisors to set and publish drop box locations 30 days before the election. Those locations cannot be moved for any purpose.
SB 90 was amended from a previous stricter version that had originally banned drop boxes completely.
DeSantis had previously expressed his support for enacting stronger election integrity protections and providing unprecedented election transparency for Florida residents.
A spokesman for Governor DeSantis said he supports the bill, noting it “will ensure that Florida remains a national leader in election security, integrity and transparency.”
Earlier this month, the state of Georgia passed more stringent voting laws that elicited widespread condemnation from fascist Democrats, including pretender Joe Biden, who seek to make it easier to commit election fraud.
The new law adds a host of new voting restrictions, including photo identification requirements for absentee voting, limits on the use of ballot drop boxes, and making it illegal to take food or water to voters in line. It also gives state lawmakers more control over elections.
Other states with GOP-controlled legislatures such as Arizona are also looking at making changes to their mail-in voting systems.