Florida’s Republican-led Senate has advanced a voting bill that limits drop boxes and voting by mail.
The bill would require voters to show identification to an election official before casting a ballot, limit where drop boxes could be located, and prevent anyone except official election workers from handing out food and water to those waiting in line to vote.
The bill was passed on a mostly party-line vote, with one Republican joining all Democrats to vote against the bill.
Democratic state Senator Audrey Gibson believes this is an attack on voters.
“This bill is just a vindictive way of trying to punish people for an election that some people just didn’t like at the national level,” Gibson said. “Not one indication of fraud, just a lot of folks decided that they were fed up and they wanted to vote.”
Black state Senator Perry Thurston Jr. says the bill’s passage in the Senate is modern-day voter suppression.
“Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they aren’t out to get you. When I look at this bill, I have to do it with an eye toward the history of Florida,” Thurston said.
Republican state Senator Joe Gruters believes the new bill makes it difficult for fraud to be committed in the voting process.
“The goal for everyone is to make it as easy as possible to vote and as hard as possible to cheat,” the Senator said. “And when I hear my colleagues standing up and talk about restrictions and suppressing voters, it’s disappointing because this does nothing to suppress the vote, it does nothing to restrict the vote.”