Florida Senate Passes Omnibus Elections Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, April 26, the Florida Senate passed an omnibus elections bill by a party-line vote of 28-12. The bill involves revisions to many disparate parts of Florida election law, and as amended by the state Senate would also change Florida’s resign-to-run law to aid a potential presidential campaign by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
While much of the bill involves technical revisions to large swathes of the state’s election code, several of the bill’s provisions could directly harm voters if signed into law. These changes include restrictions on mail-in voting, limits on third-party voter registration organizations and requirements for voter list maintenance. As originally introduced and passed by the Senate’s Ethics and Elections Committee, the bill also required all first-time voters without a Florida ID or social security number to vote in-person and expanded authority of the Office of Election Crimes and Security; however, these provisions were removed by the Senate’s Fiscal Policy Committee. The Fiscal Policy Committee’s version also changed some of the restrictions on third-party voter registration organizations and clarified that voter registrations could only be purged based on official information from government entities.
Multiple voting rights organizations have announced their opposition to the bill. In a letter sent on April 25, the ACLU of Florida, Common Cause Florida, the NAACP Florida State Conference and other groups criticized the bill’s provisions and argued that these measures will “make it harder for Floridians to register and vote, and undermine Florida’s election administration.”
Prior to final passage, the Senate also adopted an amended version of the bill that modified Florida’s resign-to-run law. Currently, Florida law requires public officials running for another office that overlaps with their current term to submit a resignation from their current office before running. This resignation is irrevocable, meaning even if a candidate were to run for and lose, they would still have to resign their office. The proposed amendment would instead exempt candidates running for president from this requirement, a change that would allow Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to run against former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president in 2024 without resigning his governorship.
S.B. 7050 now goes to the state House, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 84-35. Meanwhile, Florida’s legislative session is scheduled to end on May 5.
Read S.B. 7050 as amended here.