On the second-to-last day of the legislative session, the Republican-controlled Florida state Senate Thursday passed a new law aimed at election integrity.
After SB 90 passed the Florida House Wednesday with a vote of 77-40, it did the same in the Senate Thursday by a vote of 23-17. It was passed mostly along partisan lines, with one Republican state Senator, Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, breaking with his party and voting against the measure.
The bill implements voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, similar to another election integrity bill passed in Georgia, triggering backlash from the political left.
It now heads to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), where it awaits his signature.
Democrats argue that the bill hurts African Americans, whom they believe are not as capable of obtaining identification as white Americans.
Rep. Omari Hardy (D-West Palm Beach) said the bill was a “revival of Jim Crow in this state whether the sponsors admit it or not.”
Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) cried “racism” too.
“It’s a sad day personally, because people like me, not long ago in history were not able to vote. And I know personally the path and sacrifice it has taken to get here. We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,” she said, dramatically.
Republicans argue that presenting a form of identification to obtain an absentee ballot is simply a common sense measure to help prevent voter fraud.
“This bill creates good common sense revisions to our election laws that will better ensure the integrity of elections, and why wouldn’t you want to do that?” Rep. Tom Leek (R-Daytona Beach) argued during the Florida House’s floor debate Wednesday.
DeSantis has previously lambasted voting by mail and ballot drop boxes, signaling that he will likely sign SB 90 into law.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “People Voting” by Wyofile Wyofile. CC BY 2.0.