Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a tough election integrity reform bill, which includes provisions to enforce voter ID, prohibits mass mailing of ballots, and stops private money from interfering in elections.
DeSantis signed SB90 into law on Thursday, describing it as the “strongest election integrity measures in the country” to Fox News, when he signed it live on air on the network to cheering crowds. The bill focused on a number of key areas of election integrity, with the Florida Governor holding up a cardboard sign with tbe bullet points of what the bill achieved.
The bill not only strengthens existing voter ID laws, but also bans ballot harvesting, prohibits mass mailing of ballots, increases transparency in the elections, and bans private money from influencing the elections, the latter of which DeSantis described as “Zuckerbucks.” National File reported last year that Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley billionaires had funded an organisation which allegedly engaged in mass ballot harvesting. “This keeps us ahead of the curve,” DeSantis said:
We’ve put a lot of effort into the last election, and we wanted to make sure we did it well. We had 11 million votes counted by midnight, 99%, and we think this will make it even better as we go forward, so we’re proud of the strides that we’ve made. We’re not resting on our laurels, and me signing this bill here says, Florida, your vote counts, your vote is going to be cast with integrity and transparency, and this is a great place for our democracy.
Drop boxes for ballots, however, have not been banned, although greater restrictions have been put on them by this piece of legislation. DeSantis, who said that he is “not a fan” of them, noted that the drop boxes “will be available only when they’re monitored and during regular voting hours,” which he described as the “appropriate” way for them to function. “You can’t just leave these boxes out where there’s no supervision, all hours of the night,” he added.
While the signing of the election integrity bill was broadcast live on Fox, no other mainstream media outlets were allowed entry to the signing ceremony. Taryn Fenske, a spokeswoman for Governor DeSantis, said that the bill signing was a “Fox exclusive,” much to the annoyance of other mainstream journalists. Democrats described the move as “another step towards authoritarianism,” with the president of Florida’s Society of Professional Journalists claiming it “openly [defied] against a free press.”
NEW: News media is barred from entry at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of controversial elections bill, SB 90. DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske says bill signing is a “Fox exclusive” pic.twitter.com/NAos6kmtQS
— Steve Bousquet (@stevebousquet) May 6, 2021
Today, Dictator DeSantis decided that only Fox News could be present at a bill signing event. All other media were forced to wait outside.
Another step towards authoritarianism.
— Aaron Parnas (@AaronParnas) May 6, 2021
National File reported earlier this week that DeSantis signed a bill banning vaccine passports in the state, stopping government entities, along with private businesses, from denying service to customers based on their vaccination status. “I think it’s the evidence-based thing to do,” DeSantis said. “I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that you really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data you don’t believe in the science.”