Senate Republicans last week blocked the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, prompting state Democrats to rally to support state bills that could counter the impact of Florida’s new elections law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last spring.

Critics of the Republican governor’s legislation (SB90) say it creates major obstacles to vote by mail, curtails access to drop boxes, and makes it harder for Latinos, Black people, older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income residents to vote.

“It’s interesting [authorities from] all over the country declared the 2020 election to be fair. And even our Attorney General at the time, Bill Barr, said there was no fraud. [Yet] Republican legislatures all over this country, including here in Florida, have put into effect laws that we think endanger the right to vote,” US Rep. Lois Frankel said during a Zoom news conference Monday.

Announcing that the fight is far from over, Congressional Democrats have launched a series of bills to counter laws that, according to Frankel, “endanger the right to vote.”

  • State Sen. Tina Polsky  is sponsoring SB 1586, which would allow people to confirm on their current mail-in ballots that they would like to continue voting by mail the following year. After Gov. Ron DeSantis failed to set election dates to replace Democratic US Rep. Alcee Hastings, who died in April, making this the most extended congressional vacancy in US history, Polsky’s bill would also require Special Elections to be held within 180 days of an office vacancy.
  • Sen. Lori Berman’s SB 368 bill would allow Floridians to be able to be automatically registered to vote when they get their motor vehicle registration.
  • Proposed by Rep. Geraldine Thompson, HB 1353  would allow same-day voter registration and require unregistered voters to be notified by mail of their status.
  • 2022 candidate for the US Senate Val Deming’s HR3867 bill would require a minimum number of drop boxes based on population and require 24-hour access by voters to those drop boxes.

“You can’t turn your back and think that all the rights are there forever,” Frankel said. “We see voting rights threatened today like never before.”