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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Controversial Voting Restriction Law

From Audio: Friday, May 7, 2021
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law that would put restrictions on mail-in voting and ballot drop boxes.
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florida is the latest Republican led state to put new restrictions on voting after the 2020 presidential election. Governor. Ron DeSantis said his state's election was secure and successful, but Republicans in many states have since used false claims about that election as a reason to impose new restrictions on voting. Yesterday, Governor DeSantis went along signing limits on mail in voting and access to ballot drop boxes, among other things. We're proud of the strides that we've made. We're not resting on our laurels and me signing this bill here says florida, your vote counts voting right, advocates are already going to court alleging this law aims to solve problems that do not exist and is really designed to suppress the votes of people of color. NPR's Greg Allen is following this story from Miami. Good morning Greg. Good morning. Well, what is the new law? Well, um, you know, this was toned down some as it went through the state legislature. Republican lawmakers took out some of the most controversial measures. But the final version of the main thing here is that the use of dropbox is cut back. That's probably most significant change. They'll only be available at early voting sites during working hours. Here's de Santis. Again, you can't just leave these boxes out where there's no supervision where there are in all hours of the night. So the drop boxes will be available only when they are monitored and during regular voting hours. Another change here is that voters will need to have a driver's license or state issued ID or Social Security number to get a mail ballot, which they didn't have to do in the past. They also have to reapply every election cycle instead of once every four years, as was previously the case. There's also an interesting question about the new law for decades, in florida mail voting has been used best by republicans. They've used it much greater numbers. That changed in the last election during the pandemic when, for the first time, democrats cast more mail ballots than republicans. Nearly 700,000. So now people are wondering when the pandemic ends when it eases finally and people get out again, Will this measure backfire on republicans? Some republicans are wondering that as well, I want to ask you about the signing ceremony, which is normally not something I would ask you about, but this one was unusual, right? He signed the governor signed the bill in a hotel ballroom in West Palm Beach, which was packed with supporters, felt like a campaign event. Many of them were sporting the scientists stickers. But this was unlike other bill signings in other ways and that the media was not informed about it ahead of time and wasn't allowed to cover it. Reporters were kept outside over protests. The only people covering it. We're Fox News which carried the bill signing live, here's de Santis. I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country. I'm actually going to sign it right here. It's going to take effect. You know, de santas had previously bragged about florida's smooth election last year. You know, there he was, he said yesterday, this new law helps keep the state ahead of the curve on the election administration. But of course, florida's following many other Republican led states that are enacting these new restrictions on voting. You know, Georgia, as you know, adopted a law in March that sparked lawsuits and a backlash. Yeah, it's a trend. So what are voting rights advocates saying about this law? Well, you know, florida's had expansive early voting and no excuse mail ballots for years, which has made it very easy for people to vote in the last election results came in quickly and without any real snags, democrats. And many county election supervisors are asking why this measure is needed at all. Democratic congresswoman Val Demings is expected to announce that she is going to be running against the centers for Governor next year. She says there's a reason why he signed the bill at an event that was closed to the media and the public Governor de Sanchez knows that his voter suppression bill is un american and so he is hiding in his ballroom, refusing to answer tough questions. Moments after the bill was signed yesterday, several groups announced that they're going to at least two lawsuits. The suits charged that the law targets minority voters and violates the voting rights act and protections under the constitution. NPR's Greg allen in Miami. Thank you, Greg, You're welcome
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