TALLAHASSEE — All Voting is Local Florida State Director Brad Ashwell issued the following statement in response to the Florida Legislature passing Senate Bill 524 and House Bill 7061, which will deter voting in the state. Among other changes proposed by these bills, they will punish organizations participating in voter registration with harsher fines and will create a statewide office based on unfounded claims of election crimes:
“Florida lawmakers have further degraded the state’s elections process, passing legislation that ultimately aims to deter people from voting. Changes brought about in the new laws include the creation of an election crimes office specifically designed to perpetuate and give credence to a never-ending stream of lies about our elections. Costing millions in taxpayer dollars, the office is a gross misuse of public resources. It also builds on a long dark history of voter intimidation through the use of law enforcement.
“This latest anti-voter move is designed to sow disorder and confusion into the state’s electoral process. Florida officials continue to do all they can to fuel distrust in the voting process and limit voter access to the polls.”
In addition to creating an unnecessary and costly Office of Election Crimes & Security, Senate Bill 524 and House Bill 7061 increase fines to up to $50,000 for third party groups that register voters. It also makes it a third-degree felony to help someone other than those allowed by law to submit a ballot, instead of a misdemeanor.
This comes just months after Gov. DeSantis signed Senate Bill 90 into law, which makes it harder for voters to request and return vote-by-mail ballots and get assistance while waiting in line to vote. DeSantis is expected to sign these latest bills into law in the coming weeks.