Lawmakers, groups react to controversial new Florida voting law

Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn't allow local media to view bill signing
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Posted at 12:03 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 12:21:46-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Republicans, Democrats and other organizations are sounding off following the signing Thursday of Florida's new controversial election law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in West Palm Beach.

The legislation was signed into law behind closed doors at the Hilton hotel near the Palm Beach International Airport with Fox News being the only media outlet allowed to attend.

The law has been denounced by Democrats and voter rights advocates, saying it will unfairly target minority groups and create barriers for people to cast their ballot. However, Republicans say the new law increases "integrity & transparency" in Florida's voting laws.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

"Just like a ministry of propaganda they activate to spread lies, distortions & misinformation. The truth is the new Florida law doesn’t make it more difficult to vote by mail. It makes it more difficult for political organizations to go out & collect thousands of ballots."

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.

"Today, Governor DeSantis paid homage to Donald Trump by signing Florida’s new election law disguised as a response to false claims by Republicans that November’s election was rigged. In reality, this is part of a nationwide effort by Republicans to suppress the votes of Black Americans."

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and 2022 governor candidate:

"Governor DeSantis is signing a bill to suppress the vote. Unbelievable. Well actually it is believable: 600,000 more Democrats in Florida voted last year by mail, and so now they are going to make it harder to vote by mail. That's interesting, isn't it? Really, it's kind of pathetic. This anti-democracy crowd in Tallahassee is unbelievable. What they need to do is encourage people to vote. When I was Governor, I extended the hours of voting when we had long lines. Now if you're in a long line you can't get water from somebody, especially if you're 150 feet from voting. So if you're thirsty, too bad. That's really kind and gracious. They ought to practice the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. We're all Americans, we're all Floridians. People who vote aren't Republican, Democratic or Independent, they're just Floridians and they deserve the right to vote."

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Democrat:

Fried said during a news conference that she was "outraged" by the new law and the governor closing the event to the media.

Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby

"Florida leads the nation in election reforms because the Florida Legislature and Governor have taken a proactive approach to review and address any election issues. Safeguarding and maintaining the integrity of our elections is important to all of us. We all lose when people have no confidence in the integrity of an election. That’s what we want to avoid. We don’t want to backslide. Florida was a model for the nation in November, and that is something we can all take pride in. With this legislation, we are codifying provisions of the Governor’s executive order that were largely credited as a reason Florida’s 2020 general election went so smoothly, and why results were available much quicker in Florida than in many other states. I appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this important issue."

House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor

"Floridians have more options to cast their ballot than ever before. With that variety must come assurance of security, accountability, and transparency. The bill Governor DeSantis signed today will protect our election procedures and provide voters with confidence that our elections will remain accessible, efficient, and secure. The right to vote should never be taken for granted, and we must always strive to improve the processes that establish the foundation of our democracy."

Senator Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala

"Florida's leaders have answered the call to ensure that our elections process remains secure and credible. When it comes to the integrity of our free and fair elections, our state did not wait until something went wrong. Instead, we were proactive in our responsibility to ensure that Florida voters are confident that their vote is being counted. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for your leadership and for helping us make Florida a place where it is easy to vote and very hard to cheat."

State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill

"This legislative session, we set out to improve and strengthen the integrity of elections. We set out to ensure safe, secure and trusted measures for voting, and we prevailed. I thank Governor DeSantis for his vote of confidence to carry such landmark legislation that will restore confidence in the most sacred right we have as Americans.”

League of Women Voters of Florida

The League of Women Voters of Florida said Thursday they joined the Black Voters Matter Fund, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and several individual Florida voters to file a lawsuit challenging the new voting law.

"The League of Women Voters of Florida has fought SB 90 since its introduction, and we’re continuing our fight now. The legislation has a deliberate and disproportionate impact on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students and communities of color. It’s a despicable attempt by a one-party-ruled Legislature to choose who can vote in our state and who cannot. It's undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American," said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.