April 28, 2023
TALLAHASSEE — All Voting is Local Action’s Florida State Director Brad Ashwell issued the following statement regarding SB 7050, an anti-voter bill that just passed the Florida legislature:
“Florida’s anti-democratic legislators are determined to make voting harder and have proven that they will pass even the most inane laws in order to do so. This bill actively harms the voting process – and it will be voters who face the consequences.
“There will be less time to request vote-by–mail ballots and more challenges to picking them up. This will undoubtedly lead to more rejections. Voters are now less likely to register to vote in their communities due to punitive and discriminatory restrictions on volunteers and workers. This bill also makes it more likely that voters will be removed from voter rolls via list maintenance that will have to be conducted by election administrators, increasing the financial burden on these officials and ultimately, taxpayers. This bill is driven by partisan politics and lawmakers’ own political ambitions rather than any desire to improve electoral processes for voters.”
Senate Bill 7050 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 524 increased aggregate annual fines for third party voter registration groups from $1,000 to $50,000. Now, SB 7050 would raise that to $250,000.
SB 7050 includes additional restrictions on things like mail-in ballots, as it reduces the timeline for requesting and picking up vote-by-mail ballots and would now require 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 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.