Fried, Jacksonville Democrats shoot back controversial DeSantis, GOP electoral law

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Thursday that he and other Republicans say will lead to safer elections, the Jacksonville Democrats and a potential opponent in the governor’s upcoming race blasted the new laws, stating that they amount to oppression of the voters.

This new law restricts when ballot boxes can be used and who can collect ballots – and how many. It stipulates that Dropboxes can only be guarded and available when polling offices and locations are open for early voting. To protect against “picking ballots”, a good Samaritan can only collect and return the ballot papers of the immediate family and not more than two from unrelated persons.

“Although Republican lawmaker and Governor DeSantis have proclaimed the universal success of the electoral system in Florida, they have joined the nationwide movement to suppress voters and turned exposed electoral conspiracies from the 2020 elections into democracy-destroying, autocratic policies that suppress the votes of the Floridians” said Daniel Henry chairman of the Duval County Democratic Party.

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Election officers across the state have not asked for changes, warning that some of the new rules could prove cumbersome and expensive to implement. Voter advocates attacked the law as an overt attempt to block access to the elections so that Republicans could retain an advantage.

Democrat Nikki Fried, Florida’s Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner-elected and widely expected to face DeSantis in 2022, attacked the governor Thursday for hitting the bill during a live broadcast on Fox & Friends and signed it in front of the local media.

“If this had really been for the good of the people, he would have done it publicly, and there would have been democrats, there would have been minorities, there would have been people hugging and celebrating that we would have a fantastically assured choice,” said Fried. “This was not about election security. This is about suppressing elections and silencing people’s voices. “

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Florida law also extends a no-impact zone to 150 meters (50 meters) by 100 feet around polling stations, which could prevent people from providing food and water to people standing in line. And election officials would need to allow candidates and other observers to witness some key moments on election night in the voting process. Violations can result in heavy fines of up to $ 25,000.

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