Voting-rights groups are urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto a major elections bill that would place additional restrictions on voter-registration groups.
The proposal (SB 7050) also would help clear the way for DeSantis to run for president in 2024.
Among other things, the bill would require that voter-registration groups provide receipts when they collect applications from people, shorten from 14 to 10 days the length of time groups have to turn applications in to elections supervisors, and impose a $50-per-day fine for each application that is turned in late.
The bill reignited a debate that has divided lawmakers since the 2020 election, with Republicans arguing the state needs to continue ramping up voting-security efforts and Democrats contending the changes are designed to make it harder for them to vote. In a letter to DeSantis issued Friday, more than three dozen groups — including the ACLU of Florida and advocacy organizations focused on Black and Hispanic voters — said the bill “would do widespread harm to Florida’s elections” and to voter-registration organizations.
The state’s elections are “safe and secure,” the groups argued.
“The provisions in this bill undermine our democracy and are unnecessary,” the letter said.
The groups also expressed concern about the measure’s “harmful and discriminatory effects” on “third-party” voter registration groups “as they are targeted for the third year in a row.”
The measure would increase fines if the groups violate state laws and prevent non-U.S. citizens from “handling” voter-registration applications for the groups.
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