100+ people came to state capitol to protest mail ballot requirements

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 10:26 PM CST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - More than a hundred people came to the state Capitol today to protest proposed new mail ballot requirements. The new restrictions being proposed come as uncertainty looms over last year’s changes, which are now tied up in federal court.

Senate Bill 524 would require more identifying information, such as a partial social security number or driver’s license number on mail-in ballots. It also creates an Office of Election Crimes and Security under the governor.

“We want to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Senate Ethics and Elections Chair Dennis Baxley said. He tells us lawmakers are only trying to make the good better.

“We just owe it to the voters,” Baxley said. “To make sure we maintain the integrity of that system, because we have close elections.”

Darryl Jones is the chair of the Leon County School Board and works with the NAACP. He told the crowd: “And far too many people sacrificed for us to have the vote, for us to allow anyone to suppress our vote.”

Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Annette Taddeo and Nikki Fried also came to say no.

“Its goes so far as to limit who can turn in a vote by mail ballot,” said Taddeo. “Could it be because Democrats are outvoting Republicans in vote-by-mail?” she asked.

Fried had this warning for the governor:

“Gov, this ain’t your job. Turn on your blinker and get back into your lane. Let the legislature do this.”

Many of the groups here behind today’s rally filed a lawsuit against last year’s Senate Bill 90. That trial is in its third week.

The bills have one more committee hearing in each chamber, and we are told there are talks behind the scenes to hammer out some of the differences in the legislation.

Changes being proposed this year to require more identification on mail ballots, if passed, would not kick in until the 2024 election cycle, but other things such as an elections investigations office could be in place by November.