Florida Enacts Law Creating Special Election Force and New Voting Restrictions
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed Senate Bill 524 into law, creating a special force to investigate elections and adding new voting restrictions. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed S.B. 524 in March, complying with DeSantis’ request to create the Office of Election Crimes and Security, a special police force that will work alongside the Florida secretary of state to investigate allegations of fraud.
Additionally, S.B. 524:
- Bans ranked choice voting;
- Increases the penalty for returning more than two mail-in ballots from a misdemeanor to a third degree felony;
- Prohibits the use of private donations for election administration funding;
- Asks the Florida Department of State to develop a plan tightening ID requirements for mail-in ballots;
- Dramatically increases the maximum fines that can be levied against third-party voter registration organizations that make mistakes on registration or mail-in ballot applications;
- And requires voters to respond to address confirmation requests or else risk being placed on an inactive voter list and eventually removed from the voter rolls.
Finally, the law rolls back a provision from Senate Bill 90, a voter suppression law passed in 2021. S.B. 90 required third-party voter registration organizations to verbally tell applicants they “might not deliver” their form on time. In March, this disclaimer requirement, which trial testimony revealed to have a suppressive impact, was struck down in court for violating the First Amendment; S.B. 524 proactively removes the verbal disclaimer and instead replaces it with a written statement on the voter registration application.