In unusual circumstances, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantes instituted a controversial election reform.
At the time of the bill’s signing, the Republican had aired Thursday in Palm Beach on conservative Fox News, which had previously been granted the exclusive broadcast rights. The two Republican-dominated houses of parliament in the southern state, which former US President Donald Trump calls home, approved the electoral reform last week.
In the future, for example, stricter rules will apply regarding voting by mail, which then President Trump criticized as vulnerable to fraud without any evidence and which tended to be used by Democratic voters in the first place. In Florida, voters now have to actively apply for ballot papers – which, according to critics, should especially benefit Republicans. DeSantis said Thursday that the reform would prevent mass vote distribution. Florida has taken measures to increase transparency in the electoral process and to strengthen election security.
Florida is one of several US states to initiate reforms after a particularly polarized election in November, which critics believe is making it difficult to vote. Electoral law reform was especially fierce in Georgia, with the Democrats winning a surprise victory.
Linda Stewart, a Senator for Democrats in Florida, has criticized the electoral law for being politically motivated. Several organizations such as Black Voters Matter (in German: “Black voters matter”) have filed a lawsuit against the law. It has deliberate and disproportionate impacts on older voters, voters with disabilities, students and ethnic minorities, said Patricia Brigham, president of the Women’s Association of Florida. “It is undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American.”