TAMPA (WFLA) — Florida is the latest state to add election restrictions after the controversial 2020 presidential election.
The new law brings multiple changes to how the state runs elections and how accessible voting is for those voting by mail or using absentee ballots at drop boxes. The newly-signed election measures are touted by Gov. DeSantis as a way to make Florida the leader of secure elections across the country but the bill’s opponents say it’s just a barrier to voter accessibility, particularly among Black and Latinx voters, and voters with disabilities.
The governor’s office released a statement on the bill’s effects saying it will make elections more secure and more transparent, as well as limit mass mailing of ballots, ban ballot harvesting and prevent private money from administering elections, and strengthen current voter ID laws.
“Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity,” DeSantis said in a statement released shortly after the bill was signed.
“I think it’s pretty sad. I think it’s true that it was a stolen election,” said John Pasacreta, who supports the new restrictions. “I think there should be a lot more protections built around that, securing it.”
However, some Tampa Bay election supervisors worry the new restrictions will cause delays and voter confusion.
“Our association and myself we oppose both of these bills in the current form,” Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said in a recent interview with 8 On Your Side. “We are however continuing to share information with the legislature and try to let them know what the impact is, to not only the voters, but to our office too.”
“This does tighten it down a little bit, and we’re willing to work with the voters to make sure they’re operating well within the law,” said Pinellas County Deputy Supervisor of Elections Dustin Chase.
Nearly all of Florida’s 67 election officials have some opposition to the legislation.
“This law does introduce the largest political intrusion into the election process that we’ve seen, because now political parties, candidates, designees of candidates will be able to come and review parts of the election process as they’re unfolding. We have concerns about whether or not these intrusions of the process will allow us to certify our election by legally mandated deadlines,” said Chase.