A new bill tightening Florida’s election passes in its first hearing just 24 hours after the 98-page bill became public.
The 98-page proposal focuses on many of the state’s current rules for candidates, voters, and the government entities that regulate them.
The two sides of the bill moving through the state legislature are is this protecting our elections or is it restricting access to non-republican voters.
On Tuesday, the GOP-dominated senate ethics and elections committee signed off on the bill introduced the day before. Democrats wonder why there was such little notice.
The measure calls for a change in voter registration cards that would clarify that having a card doesn’t guarantee that person is legally allowed to vote. Consequently, shifting blame from the state if that person were arrested for voting illegally.
“Democrats really think that is sort of dirty pool, because under the current law, there’s been about 20 people arrested, supposedly for voting when they weren’t allowed to register,” UCF political scientist Aubrey Jewett said.
“You know, like former felons, these sorts of things. But for many of them, their defense has been look… you the state sent me a voter registration card. So how would I know that I’m not allowed to vote,” Jewett said.
Another group that’s opposed said it could impact college students voting. Under the bill, people registering to vote for the first time would need a traditional Florida I.D. which is something most college kids don’t have.
Critics say third-party registration groups would also be impacted which often cater to minorities.
“It makes it much less likely that third-party groups are going to continue to try to register voters, if they think they might have to pay a 500 or $1,000 fine for each person that somehow they don’t get quite right by these new state rules,” Jewett said.