Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Sweeping Election Overhauls Into Law

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping election reform bill into law Thursday morning that limits absentee voting, bans ballot harvesting and outlaws private funding for election-related expenses.

DeSantis and Republicans in Florida’s legislature said that S.B. 90 would help ensure election integrity, even though they acknowledged there were no irregularities in the state’s November election, while Democrats labeled the bill as a partisan effort to restrict voting statewide. He signed the bill live on “Fox and Friends,” shutting out national and local media who planned to cover the signing.

“Right now I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” the Florida Republican said as he signed the bill. “We’re also banning ballot harvesting. We’re not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box.” (RELATED: DeSantis Signs Bill Scrapping All Of Florida’s Coronavirus Restrictions)

Workers at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office process voters’ ballots inside of the Elections Service Center Operations Department on November 3, 2020 in Largo, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

The bill also requires Florida voters to request an absentee ballot every election cycle instead of every four years as previously mandated, and forbids anybody but poll workers from offering food or water to voters within 150 feet from a polling place. The bill was introduced and March and passed on near party-line votes, and was opposed by county election supervisors in all 67 of Florida’s counties.

“Florida can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity,” DeSantis said. “Elections should be free and fair, and these changes will ensure this continues to be the case in the Sunshine State.”

The bill mirrors other election reform bills in multiple states, including Georgia, Michigan and Arizona. Unlike some states considering voting reforms, however, former President Donald Trump won Florida in November with over 51% of the vote, even improving on his 2016 margin.

The law also follows months of baseless claims from Trump and his allies that the 2020 election was rigged, though no evidence supporting the allegations has emerged and he has lost dozens of court cases that sought to invalidate President Joe Biden’s victory. 

Minutes after DeSantis signed the bill, Democratic attorney Marc Elias said that he had filed suit against it on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans on the grounds that it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

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