Governor Ron DeSantis signed the electoral law Thursday morning. Much of the bill shares similarities with what was signed in Georgia earlier this year. Stephen Fowler of Georgia Public Radio came over to discuss the key points of the bill.
In Florida, dropboxes can be open 24 hours at polling stations. Dropboxes at pre-approved locations can only be opened while the site is open and must be monitored at all times. Election officials must also indicate where they will drop boxes at least 30 days before an election. After the 30 days have passed, this location cannot be changed.
Georgia has to have at least one Dropbox in every county, but there is a limit to having more. There can only be one Dropbox per early voting site or 100,000 active registered voters. This will reduce the number of dropboxes in some counties compared to 2020. Also, Dropboxes must be located inside pre-coordinated locations and only placed outside if there is a government emergency. And similar to Florida, the drop boxes can only be accessed during the website’s opening hours for early voting.
Changes in water and food distribution:
In Florida, food and water cannot be offered to anyone within 150 feet of a polling station. This applies to everyone except for election workers, who are allowed to continue to provide water to voters waiting in long lines.
In Georgia, gifts, including food and water, cannot be offered to any voter within 150 feet of a polling station or within 25 feet of a voter queuing at a polling station. Similar to Florida, however, it allows election workers to provide those waiting with water.
In Florida, those wishing to cast ballots for others are only allowed to do so for two people outside of their immediate family. And those who count as immediate family members have also been expanded to include grandparents and grandchildren.
In Georgia, it was already a legal requirement that ballot papers must be mailed and served by the person whose name is on the ballot paper. There is an exception when it comes to immediate family members, which like Florida’s new law extends to grandparents and grandchildren and in-laws, but goes a step further and includes uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.
Florida law now prohibits polling stations from obtaining funding from private organizations or individuals to help with voter outreach and other election-related expenses. As well as preventing volunteers from helping.
In Georgia, the law also prevents electoral offices from receiving the funds directly. The state election office can, however, receive third-party funding as well as the district government.
There are a few other changes not mentioned above. One of these is changing how many years in advance a person can request to vote by email. Voters can only apply for ballot papers by email until the end of the calendar year of the next parliamentary elections. Previously, the motion lasted two election cycles.
Lawsuits against the new laws have already been filed in both states. So far there are six in Georgia and two filed hours after the Florida law went into effect.
For an analysis of Florida’s bill, click here.
To see Georgia’s bill, click here.