Mon | Jul 26, 2021

Florida governor signs GOP voting law critics call ‘un-American’

Published:Friday | May 7, 2021 | 12:22 AM


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a wide-ranging list of new voting restrictions into law Thursday, staging a misleading, made-for-TV ceremony meant to tout his credentials on a top priority for the Republican Party’s conservative base.

At a live bill-signing event aired exclusively on Fox News, DeSantis said the new law would prevent fraud and restore confidence in Florida’s elections – although the state has found no evidence of widespread fraud. The move made Florida the latest GOP-led state to enact tighter voting rules over the objections of Democratic critics who charge the law only makes it harder for people, particularly the elderly and people of colour, to vote.

But DeSantis’ unusual promotion of the bill – on the GOP-friendly morning show Fox & Friends – demonstrated the rising Republican leader’s confidence the new law would only boost his standing.

“Right now I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” the governor said.

Florida’s new law restricts when ballot drop boxes can be used, and who can collect ballots – and how many. It mandates that drop boxes must be guarded, and available only when elections offices and early voting sites are open. To protect against what Republicans call “ballot harvesting”, someone can only collect and return the ballots of immediate family, and no more than two from unrelated people.