March 9, 2021 by David Silverberg
The most significant bill suppressing voting in Florida is scheduled for committee consideration tomorrow, March 10—and Florida residents can weigh in with their opposition.
Senate Bill 90 would require voters seeking to vote by mail to renew their mail-in request every year in the calendar year of the election rather than the current two years. That means that voters seeking a mail-in ballot for the 2022 election would have to wait until next year to request it.
Introduced on Feb. 3 by state Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-12-Sumter County), the bill has already been approved by the Florida Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.
The Florida Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, has scheduled a hearing on it for tomorrow.
While the bill is ostensibly intended to prevent voter fraud, it has been denounced by county election supervisors, who worry that it will add unnecessary financial burdens to their counties.
The Miami Herald, editorialized that, “While not solving any real problems, it would force supervisors of elections to scramble to comply and notify voters, costing counties hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Further, it “smacks of a partisan attempt to confuse voters and catch them off guard in next year’s election.”
Florida Democrats have denounced the bill.
“Why do Florida Republicans want to limit vote by mail access? Well it all comes down to who has access to the franchise,” Marcus Dixon, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director told News4 in Jacksonville. “So even though the vote by mail system worked well here in Florida this past election, any time too many people have easy access to the ballot box, Republicans feel like they need to change the rules.”
Manny Diaz, Florida Democratic Party Chair, agreed. “This is not an issue of Republicans versus Democrats, but instead an issue of Republicans versus democracy,” Diaz said. “Florida Republicans keep showing us that when given a choice between defending the rights of voters, or suppressing voter access, disturbingly they will all too gladly suppress, harm and sacrifice our most sacred Constitutional right, on the altar of preserving power for the sake of power.”
Comment: What you can do
Florida residents can weigh in on this issue before, during and after it comes up for a hearing in the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee.
They can contact their state senators and urge them to oppose it.
To find your senator, go to Find Your Legislators and enter your address. Your senator will appear along with a button to e-mail that senator. Tell your senator to oppose SB 90 and keep the mail-in voting provision the way it functioned in 2020.
The members of the Government Oversight and Accountability Committee are:
- Sen. Debbie Mayfield (R-17-Brevard County)
- Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-22-Lake, Polk County)
- Sen. Linda Stewart (D-13-Orange County)
- Sen. Victor M. Torres, Jr. (D-15-Osceola County)
Liberty lives in light
© 2021 by David Silverberg