Voting rights organizations and experts fear that Florida Republicans’ impending limits on voter registration organizations will make it more difficult for non-white Floridians to register to vote.
The limitations are part of a comprehensive 96-page election law that the legislature will probably soon deliver to Governor Ron DeSantis. The law increases penalties for organizations that register voters on behalf of third parties. Additionally, it reduces the deadline for the groups to submit any voter registration forms they gather from 14 to 10 days. In accordance with the proposed legislation, it is forbidden for non-citizens and those convicted of specific offenses to “collect or handle” voter registration applications on behalf of outside organizations.
Florida Republicans Have A New Election Fine
Groups would also be obliged to provide a receipt to each voter they register and to register with the state prior to each general election cycle. They just need to register once under present legislation, and their registration is valid indefinitely.
Groups can now be fined $50,000 for each ineligible voter canvasser they recruit. They may also be penalized $50 per day, up to $2,500, for each day they are late in submitting a voter registration form.
Non-white Floridians are more likely to be affected by the Florida Republicans’ limitations. According to Daniel Smith, a political science instructor at the University of Florida who researches voting rights, around one in ten Black and Hispanic Floridians registered to vote through a third-party organization.
According to Smith, non-white voters are more than five times more likely than white voters to register with a third-party organization in the state, “a fact that’s probably lost on those pushing the legislation.” With the new law, Florida Republicans have increased the maximum penalty for third-party voter registration groups for the second time since the 2020 presidential election. The legislature increased the maximum annual fine that organizations could be subjected to in 2021 from $1,000 to $50,000. With the proposed legislation, the maximum fine would rise to $250,000.