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Florida governor signs Republican-backed law imposing new voting curbs

WorldMay 06, 2021 02:13PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the welcome segment of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 26, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper 2/2

By Julia Harte

(Reuters) -Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a bill imposing new limits on voting by mail and using ballot drop boxes, the latest Republican-backed voting restrictions to become law in a U.S. election battleground state.

The new law restricts the use of absentee ballot drop boxes to the early voting period, adds new identification requirements for requesting such ballots, and requires voters to reapply for absentee ballots in each new general election cycle. Previously, Florida voters only had to apply once every two election cycles.

The law also gives partisan election observers more power to raise objections and requires people offering voters assistance to stay at least 150 feet (45 meters) away from polling places, an increase from the previous 100-foot (30-meter) radius.

Republican legislators in dozens of states have pursued measures to restrict voting rights in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud. Lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives were poised on Thursday to advance sweeping new voting limits despite opposition from numerous businesses.

Minutes after DeSantis signed the law, the League of Women Voters of Florida and two other civil rights groups sued Florida's 67 counties to try to block the new restrictions. They are represented by Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who also sued Georgia over voting limits the state passed in March.

The Florida branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Disability Rights Florida and the good government group Common Cause also sued the state on Thursday, arguing the limits would disproportionately hurt Black, Latino and disabled voters.

Republican lawmakers have cited the unfounded claims made by Trump, a Florida absentee voter himself, after his decisive loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Judges rejected such claims in more than 60 lawsuits that failed to overturn the election result. Lawmakers in Republican-controlled states, including Georgia, Texas and Arizona, nevertheless proposed legislation they said was necessary to curb voter fraud, which is extremely rare in the United States.

DeSantis acknowledged in February that Florida had "held the smoothest, most successful election of any state in the country," but said new limits on absentee ballots were needed to safeguard election integrity.

DeSantis, who signed the law in an appearance on the Fox News Channel show "Fox & Friends," said, "Me signing this bill here says, 'Florida, your vote counts, your vote is going to be cast with integrity and transparency.'"

Mail-in ballots or absentee ballots were used by Democratic voters in greater numbers than Republicans in the 2020 election, as many people avoided in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Republicans used mail-in voting slightly more than Democrats in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 general elections. But in November, Democrats submitted 2.2 million mail-in ballots compared with 1.5 million from Republicans, state records show, after Trump falsely asserted for months that mail voting was rife with fraud.

In March, Georgia's Republican governor signed a law that tightened absentee ballot identification requirements, restricted ballot drop-box use and allowed a Republican-controlled state agency to take over local voting operations.

Democrats and voting rights advocates sued Georgia over the measure, saying it was aimed at disenfranchising Black voters, who helped propel Biden to the presidency and deliver Democrats two U.S. Senate victories in Georgia in January that gave them control of the chamber. Top U.S. companies also decried Georgia's law, and Major League Baseball moved its All-Star game out of the state in protest.

Florida governor signs Republican-backed law imposing new voting curbs
 

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Comments (17)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 10, 2021 8:07AM ET
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You misspelled "law protecting voter integrity".
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 07, 2021 8:17AM ET
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I wonder why democrats are so opposed to anti-cheating laws?
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 07, 2021 8:17AM ET
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You are so cute. Disinformation is the GOP way. Keep it up, the small minded people will believe you.
Adrian White
Adrian White May 07, 2021 8:17AM ET
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They're not opposed to anti-cheating. They're just opposed to restrictions that make it harder to vote - especially for low-income workers who can't easily take time off work to vote, or can't easily travel to the few remaining drop boxes. Republican law-makers know that most of those people tend to vote Democrat, so they push this through under the guise of 'anti-cheating'. I agree that voters should show ID and that promotes integrity. Great. But removing drop boxes and reducing early voting, and voting hours does nothing for reducing fraud. It just makes it harder for many people to vote.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 07, 2021 8:17AM ET
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Adrian White  Apparently, you and chris don't know much about the new voter integrity laws.
Dean Patterson
Dean Patterson May 06, 2021 10:08PM ET
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He is ****it! The most promising politician in the USA for a decade
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 06, 2021 9:08PM ET
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Excellent.
The Great
The Great May 06, 2021 5:49PM ET
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Good man!
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone May 06, 2021 2:39PM ET
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Democrats are only upset about this because it reduces voter fraud. Without voter fraud, they can't win elections.
James Pattison
James Pattison May 06, 2021 1:59PM ET
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Certifying elections is of the upmpst importance for any democracy...
Adrian White
Adrian White May 06, 2021 1:59PM ET
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Hmm... funny then how so many Trump supporters tried to stop certification last Jan. 6th. But they didn't really want a democracy. They wanted a 'Trumpocracy'.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 1:59PM ET
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Agreed, why would the GOP vote not to certify? Disinformation is the GOP way.
danny Levine
danny Levine May 06, 2021 1:20PM ET
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the title makes me sick! this is NOT a voting curb!
Tony Huynh
Tony Huynh May 06, 2021 1:20PM ET
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yeah then explain to me the need to restrict drop boxes, early voting period and why would they make voting assistants to stand far away from the voting place?
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel May 06, 2021 12:59PM ET
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How does requiring voters to show ID hinder the process of voting? Unless you are corrupt Democrat party and cant win unless you cheat
Show previous replies (9)
The Great
The Great May 06, 2021 12:59PM ET
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Chris Cummins  So basically "old whites" are far more superior than the others, thus these laws won't negatively affect them...how insulting for you to think that those of us with darker complexions need our hands held like CHILDREN because we don't know how to do things on our own.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 12:59PM ET
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The Great  No, big brain, they do not have addresses recognized by the US government because they live on reservations. Thus they have to jump thru many more hoops to even get an ID (which they do not need for anything else)....this is targeted legislation, native americans vote Dem 98%, if you cannot see what is happening you are willfully ignorant.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 12:59PM ET
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The Great  Actually, poor people have less access to transportation and free time to go vote. But I think it is great you want to make it harder on them. Go GOP, keep hating poor people.
The Great
The Great May 06, 2021 12:59PM ET
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Chris Cummins  That is so bogus. People make time for what they want to do. The reason why some poor people don't vote is because they don't want to vote. They could care less for either party. I know many of them. The same reason why some wealthy people don't vote. People make time for what they want to do. I see poor people in the nightclub spending their last bit of money on Uber and drinks. Poor people know how to prioritize. They aren't as slow as you think.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 12:59PM ET
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The Great  So you are a single Mom with two kids working 2 jobs....so easy to find the time. I agree, ****the poor, let's make it harder on them. GO GOP!
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel May 06, 2021 12:57PM ET
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Showing ID strenghthens the election process, Democrats just want to cheat
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel May 06, 2021 12:57PM ET
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Chris Cummins they can go to local DMV get ID for $15
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 12:57PM ET
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Felipe Daniel  They have no legal address you genius. The US Gov doesn't like to recognize addresses on a reservation. Thus the GOP can take advantage of this...way to go! You must be proud.
oeg vokar
oeg vokar May 06, 2021 12:57PM ET
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Chris Cummins So those people don't care if they have a house, don't spend few hours getting ID....and GOP is guilty for what they are? speechless.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice May 06, 2021 12:30PM ET
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Trumpublicsns: Making a home in the 20th Century.
james marshall
james marshall May 06, 2021 11:57AM ET
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Florida #1
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 11:57AM ET
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Starting from the bottom?
danny Levine
danny Levine May 06, 2021 10:57AM ET
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love how the media reports this voting integrity law as "voting curbs". it's sad that many people here failed to see the bias in the reporting
Adrian White
Adrian White May 06, 2021 10:57AM ET
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You see the bias that you want to see, Danny. Requiring ID and validating signatures is "voting integrity". Removing drop boxes is not. That's just making it harder to vote, especially people who can't miss work to vote, or live or work far from voting stations. And what a coincidence that most of them vote Democrat, right?
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 10:19AM ET
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Only white land owners should vote. Still shocked the GOP allowed women the right to vote. But we will fix that by beating on Liz! Go rich white bigots!
oeg vokar
oeg vokar May 06, 2021 10:19AM ET
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Why are people migrating to USA but not to Africa?
oeg vokar
oeg vokar May 06, 2021 10:19AM ET
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Biden-"Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American owned small businesses, women-owned businesses..." It's good to be non-white in USA...all is free.
matthew panos
matthew panos May 06, 2021 10:19AM ET
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Obviously you’ve internalized all the media lies. Everyone uses IDs for unemployment, social security, driving and much more. Why is it racist also require IDs to vote? Answer: Liberal leftists can no longer cheat!!
oeg vokar
oeg vokar May 06, 2021 10:19AM ET
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Chris Cummins "Some on the reservation don’t see the benefits of the new addresses yet, Redhorse said. Worried about creditors or debt collectors, Redhorse said a handful of people have said to her, “You’re exposing us. You’re putting us out there. You’re letting people know where we live.”
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 10:19AM ET
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oeg vokar  Great, so you agree, this is targeting Native Americans! How do they vote? See, now you are woke..you are welcome.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 06, 2021 10:13AM ET
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Thank you. Florida.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 10:13AM ET
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You know you are not Catholic, right? You cannot be that hateful and ignorant and follow the lord.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 06, 2021 10:13AM ET
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Chris Cummins i am a devout Catholic, unlike mr biden.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 06, 2021 10:13AM ET
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Catholic Man  So Jesus was like you? I don't think so. You are a devout Trumpian and that is about all. Trump and Jesus have nothing in common. NOTHING!
John Hat
John Hat May 06, 2021 10:05AM ET
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Reuters is garbage. Communist propaganda.
Adrian White
Adrian White May 06, 2021 10:05AM ET
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John, please tell us what is so "communist" about reporting on how new restrictions are making it harder to vote.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 06, 2021 10:05AM ET
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Adrian White biased hesdline
frendy glasser
dejong099 May 06, 2021 9:12AM ET
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"curtailing access", "new hurdles", "Latest Republican-backed voting restriction"  Is this an editorial or news article?  Oh it's Reuters -- nevermind.
Adrian White
Adrian White May 06, 2021 9:12AM ET
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It's just truth that you don't like. And it's NEWS, not opinion.
 
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