April 19, 2023
TALLAHASSEE — All Voting is Local Action’s Florida State Director Brad Ashwell issued the following statement in response to the anti-voter bill passed by the House State Affairs Committee today:
“Florida continues to treat essential voting functions as things to criminalize and inhibit. Putting even more restrictions on voter registration groups and mail-in voting would only confuse and turn away voters from the voting process while giving those in power a greater stranglehold over the state.
“Voting laws in our state keep getting more exclusionary, and they are clearly targeting voters of specific demographics. Voter registration organizations play an instrumental role in engaging Black and brown communities in the democratic process, as many people in Florida rely on these groups to navigate the constantly changing rules around voting. Floridians deserve to live in a state that values fundamental processes like voter registration and voting by mail, rather than a state that is actively trying to weaken their right to vote.”
Senate Bill 7050 / House PCB SAC 23-01 imposes severe limits and punishments for third-party voter registration organizations by shortening deadlines, significantly increasing fines and creating additional felonies. These organizations already face hefty fines for submitting applications past the deadline and for altering forms without the applicants consent. SB 90 increased aggregate annual fines for third party voter registration groups from $1,000 to $50,000. Now, SB 7050 would raise that to $100,000. The House PCB goes further, raising fines to $250,000.
SB 7050/House PCB SAC 23-01 includes additional restrictions on things like mail-in ballots, as it reduces the timeline for requesting and delivering vote-by-mail ballots and requiring voters to have an emergency to pick up a vote-by-mail ballot during the early voting period. Even one change to policies relating to vote-by-mail can create confusion and a number of minor changes can add up creating significant barriers.
SB 7050/House PCB SAC 23-01 also contains additional efforts to shift the responsibility of determining voter eligibility away from the state and on to voters. Seemingly minor changes such as changing the name of a “voter identification card” to “voter information card” and adding a disclaimer to the card are designed to ease the prosecution of voters arrested by the Office of Election Crimes.