Legislation in Florida, Georgia aims to change voting regulations

A major fight over voting access in both Florida and Georgia.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bills in both Florida and Georgia that aim to make changes to voting regulations are working their way through the legislative system.

GOP majority legislatures in both states are pushing for changes in how elections are conducted to better secure the process, while some Democrats argue the move will suppress votes.

You might recall in Florida on the day after the 2020 presidential election, Gov. Ron DeSantis praised how smoothly the election went in the state, saying other states could learn from Florida. Still, he proposed tightening voting laws in February, saying “We need to make sure that we continue to stay ahead of the curve.”

In Georgia, you might remember Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger fighting publicly with former President Donald Trump, saying Georgia’s election was secure. But in February, Raffensperger said in a statement that 35 cases involving potential violations of election law were being sent from the State Election Board to the attorney general or local prosecutors.

In Florida, Senate Bill 90 would require voters to request mail-in ballots more frequently. Democrats worry it might diminish the number of votes from their party, which edged Republican votes by about 700,000 mail-in ballots in 2020.

Dean Black, chair of the Duval County GOP, said apart from DeSantis saying Florida ran a secure election, it doesn’t mean the state can’t improve the way it secures ballots.

“Senate Bill 90 says you have to request a ballot before you receive a vote by mail ballot. And it’s going to make sure you do that ahead of each general election cycle. And the reason for that is that’s how we know you’re alive. And I’ll just let that stand right there,” Black said.

Florida Senate Democrats say this is purely a political move designed to keep Democrats from voting in 2022. Party leaders say it could suppress the votes of both minority and senior voters who cast ballots for Democrats.

“It’s trickery,” said State Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville. “And I think it’s definitely a way to try to suppress the Democrat vote, because obviously some folks don’t like the way the presidential election turned out.”

In Georgia, which turned blue during the 2020 presidential election, the GOP majority house just passed a bill that puts more restrictions on absentee voting. The GOP claims its intent is security, while Democrats point out that their voters cast a record number of ballots absentee.

About the Author:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.