Florida Senate passes voter suppression bill

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WESTCHESTER, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 19: Voters wait in line, socially distanced from each other, to cast their early ballots at the Westchester Regional Library polling station on October 19, 2020 in Westchester, Florida. The early voting ends on Nov. 1. Voters are casting their ballots for presidential candidates President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida is taking steps toward stricter voting laws.

On Monday, the state passed a bill making it even more challenging for people to vote. The GOP-led Senate passed S.B. 90 with a 23-17 vote, which restricts giving voters inline water among other new standards. Voting activists are saying the bill is geared toward voter suppression, but Republicans say differently, per HuffPost.

“By a vote of 17-23, the GOP voter suppression bill, SB90, passes the FL Senate. All Senate Democrats voted against the bill. Only one Republican Senator broke ranks to join them,” tweeted out Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones.

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The bill restricts where ballot drop boxes are located, limits who can collect and drop off ballots, and require all voters to show election officials an ID before casting their votes. Under this bill, voters are required to request an absentee ballot for every election. In the past, voters who relocated within the state could call or email a county elections supervisor, but now they must complete an online or paper form. Partisan poll watchers are now encouraged.

The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, made it clear earlier this year that he wanted lawmakers to pass stricter voting laws. At the time, he called ballot boxes “a big problem.”

“We need to make sure that we continue to stay ahead of the curve,” said the governor in regards to how Florida handled the 2020 election at a press conference, per CNN.

“We need to make sure that our citizens have confidence in the elections, that they have the ability to vote. We want, obviously, everyone to vote. But we don’t want anyone to cheat. And we want to make sure that we strike that appropriate balance.”

Early Voting Begins In Florida
WESTCHESTER, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 19: Voters wait in line, socially distanced from each other, to cast their early ballots at the Westchester Regional Library polling station on October 19, 2020 in Westchester, Florida. The early voting ends on Nov. 1. Voters are casting their ballots for presidential candidates President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump perpetuated rumors that due to voter fraud, the 2020 election was stolen from him. After dozens of lawsuits filed in various states, there has been no evidence to support his claim, and the evidence supports he lost to President Joe Biden fairly.

States like Georgia shocked the country in March when it implemented strict voter laws that critics say restrict Black, the elderly, and people of color from voting. Republicans have introduced hundreds of voting restriction laws across the country but voting rights activists are fighting back.  

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“As Democratic Secretaries of State, we believe in ensuring every eligible American access to vote regardless of where they live, rather than allowing elected officials to choose their voters,” said Jena Griswold, the chairman of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State Colorado.

Some corporations are even speaking up and saying voter suppression is not okay. As reported by theGrio, Reid Hoffman, billionaire and co-founder of Linkedin, shared his thoughts on how businesses should respond to the growing number of politicians attempting to pass new laws to restrict voting.

WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary - Day 1
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 13: Reid Hoffman speaks onstage at WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Day 1 on October 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25 )

CNN reported Hoffman urged business leaders to not only speak out against voter suppression but to make moves that empower verbal support. In his opinion, the financial contributions to politicians and political groups who have called for voting laws that hinder access to voting should be cut off by companies who have expressed disdain for the legislation.

“Protecting voter rights and making voting more accessible is both pro-business, and more importantly, pro-American,” he said to CNN Business via email. “This should be a simple, single-issue reason to stop supporting any politician.”

Additional reporting by DeMicia Inman

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