The state House approved a voting reform bill that passed 77-40 late afternoon Wednesday, in the waning days of the 2021 legislative session.
But that bill was changed dramatically, and now, it’s not clear which piece of legislation will prevail. The Senate also has its own bill.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is likely to weigh in behind the scenes at this point, having demanded voting reforms in February at an event held in Hernando County with State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia at his side.
Meanwhile, election supervisors, voting-rights advocates and civil-rights advocates condemn all of the legislation as voter suppression.
Here are some common components in the bills sponsored by Ingoglia in the House, and State Sen. Dennis Baxley, in the Senate, He represents Sumter and parts of Lake and Marion counties.
Both want to restrict the availability of ballot drop boxes, limit the number of people who may handle someone else’s ballot on his or her behalf, and add more rules on registering, voting by mail, matching voter signatures, counting ballots, observing ballot-counting, announcing results, and challenging results.
But components that differ include ghost candidates, which usually means a no party candidate, called an NPA, who gets into a race as a third candidate to siphon votes from one of the other two candidates. The Senate’s provision on ghost candidates would require all candidates to declare themselves as having no-party affiliation a year before filing to run.
Democrats in both chambers want to kill both bills, saying their many provisions will curtail voting by mail for no good reason, will inconvenience shut-ins who depend on mail-in voting, and will impose more work and expense on election offices across the state. All in the absence of evidence of 2020 voting fraud in Florida.
What gets confusing is the legislative wrangling.
At this point there are two bills with the same name: SB 90. Baxley’s bill, called SB 90, was approved by the state Senate.
But when Baxley’s bill went to the House for consideration, Ingoglia stripped everything from Baxley’s bill and inserted his own bill. And that bill is called SB 90.