DeSantis Signs Voter Law, Allows Only Fox News to Cover

In lawsuit, critics say rules are designed to curb voting by minorities
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 6, 2021 12:20 PM CDT
Florida's DeSantis Puts New Voting Rules in Effect
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a sweeping elections bill into law that voter rights advocates immediately challenged with a federal lawsuit. The Republican governor signed the freshly passed legislation ahead of his impending announcement that he'll run for reelection in the nation's largest battleground state, per the AP. Aiming for a broad impact among Donald Trump's party base, he staged the signing on a live broadcast of Fox & Friends Thursday morning, flanked by a small group of GOP legislators in Palm Beach County. Other media organizations were shut out. “Right now I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” the governor said. “We're also banning ballot harvesting. We're not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box.”

Democrats and voter advocates have assailed the law as a blatant attempt to impede access to the polls so that Republicans might regain an advantage. “The legislation has a deliberate and disproportionate impact on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students, and communities of color," said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. The league joined the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and others in assailing the new law in a federal lawsuit filed minutes after the signing. Among other things, the law restricts when ballot drop boxes can be used and who can collect ballots—and how many. An electoral Good Samaritan can only collect and return the ballots of immediate family and no more than two from unrelated people. Drop boxes must be supervised and would only be available when elections offices and early voting sites are open.

(More Ron DeSantis stories.)

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