TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — A sweeping election reform bill is ready for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature after passing in the Florida House Friday, and it includes a provision that makes it easier for him to run for president.
Lawmakers have called Florida’s election laws the “gold standard,” but Friday they advanced a bill changing them. Republicans say they’re protecting voters rights, but Democrats say they’re suppressing them.
“This bill protects voters rights and it’s important that we try to see that in each and every line,” State Rep. Ralph Massulo (R-Lecanto) said.
“This new election bill is simply a continuation of Republicans efforts over the past five years and probably even longer – to make it harder for Floridians to vote,” State Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-Hillsborough) said.
The bill increases penalties and rules for third-party registration groups by more than quadrupling fines. It also shrinks the amount of time voters have to request mail ballots..
State Rep. Lawrence McClure backed the bill which heightens penalties and rules for third-party voter registration groups by more than quadrupling fines
“This is a bill that’s about efficiency, it’s about protecting the Florida voter and making sure we’re protecting floridians.” State Rep. McClure (R-Plant City) said.
The bill’s newest addition clears up any confusion that the governor can run for president without needing to resign as governor.
Democrats found the idea laughable.
“I mean LOL members. I thought there were checks and balances in government. I thought we were in a structure where we hold other branches accountable, not bend over backwards and do what we’re told,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) said, adding “I don’t wait for one man. I won’t change the law for one man.”
Yet the amendment sponsor says paving a governor’s way to the White House only benefits Floridians.
“I’d say it’s a gift package for Floridians and it’s also a gift package for Americans,” State Rep. Michelle Salzman (R-Pensacola) said. “If we can open the door for anybody who’s qualified to run, let’s let ’em get out there and get qualified to run.”
Now all this bill needs is the governor’s signature to become law. If DeSantis signs it into law as expected, he will also be signing off on his ability to run for president without resigning as governor.