As municipal elections draw near, Florida voting rights activists are worried about the impact of SB-90

Florida voting rights activists express concern over SB-90's effect on turnout
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Beginning with a primary in the Saint Petersburg mayoral race next week, Florida will hold 82 municipal elections before the end of the year.

Voting rights activists are worried that recent changes to Florida’s election laws will make it more difficult for some to vote.

Florida Representative Fentrice Driskell also expressed her concern over the new amendments.

“We didn’t need new barriers to accessing dropboxes,” Driskell said.

Driskell is especially concerned about the effect that the changes could cause upon the African American voter turnout, which is a large sector of St. Pete’s population.

“I just want to make sure they have been well educated in what these changes are going to mean for them,” Driskell said.

The activist organization All Voting is Local is pushing federal legislation to override Senate Bill 90.

“We need these national protections in place allowing people to register the day of the election,” All Voting is Local’s director Brad Ashwell said

But Florida Senator Dennis Baxley, the sponsor of the voting legislation, says opening registration to election day would create problems instead of fixing them.

“When you got people registering in the middle of voting, that is how you get mishaps,” Baxley said.

A former congresswoman suggested a conspiracy nationwide, saying over 400 bills were introduced by Republican lawmakers nationwide.

The real test of SB-90 will come on January 11, when Broward County will hold a special congressional election. The results will either fuel efforts to change the law or, perhaps, prove Florida’s Legislature right.

A federal lawsuit seeking to declare this year’s election law changes unconstitutional is still in court.

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