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NCFL state lawmakers react to election reform law

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 5:28 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Voting rules have changed state-wide since Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 90 into law. One of the biggest changes deals with ballot boxes.

“So somewhere between now and the first of August, I’ve got to go out and have my drop box removed,” said Marion County Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Wilcox.

Ballot boxes must be manned by a Supervisor of Elections’ employee and are only available during early voting and office hours. People who want a vote-by-mail ballot have to request one each election cycle. Changing voter registration also requires an “identifying number” such as a driver’s license or a social security number.

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“You know, drop boxes will now only be available during the hours of early voting,” added Wilcox. “So that’s gonna be a major change because I’ve had tens of thousands of ballots dropped here at my office in my video-monitored dropbox.”

The new law, supported by 8th District State Senator Keith Perry, changes the way voters can cast a ballot in Florida.

“But at my business here, I don’t wait until I’m embezzled to put checks and balances in,” said Perry. He agrees the past election was secure but says the changes made in the new law are simple.

“The key is to say we’re going to put in safeguards so that you feel protected and your vote is important and we’re going to make sure your vote is counted properly and so I think those are the keys to this thing,” said Perry. “We want to have voter participation. We want, we need to have confidence in the entire system.”

Supporters of the new law say it’s meant to help keep future elections secure. Democratic District 20 Representative Yvonne Hinson says SB 90 will lead to voter suppression.

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“As I’ve always said, elections have consequences,” said Hinson. The law passed with no Democratic votes. Hinson said the new law will also negatively affect marginalized communities to get their vote cast.

“However, on the other hand, US postal service mailboxes, standing out in the sun and rain and any other element we can drop them in there, anywhere, unsupervised, unmanned, unsurveilled,” added Hinson. “It makes no sense, it’s gotta be a tactic to create obstacles for the voters”

A lawsuit is challenging SB 90, with support from all 67 Florida Supervisor of Elections along with a number of voter advocacy groups.

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