Republican lawmakers in Florida have passed a controversial election overhaul bill despite the lack of problems in the state's 2020 election, which they say was the "gold standard" for the country. The state is the first swing state won by Donald Trump to introduce new voting restrictions following the Republican's election loss, reports the New York Times. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he plans to sign the bill, which passed the state's House and Senate largely along party lines Thursday. It includes, among other things new limits on the use of ballot drop boxes and restrictions on third-party voter registration groups, NBC reports. It also requires more identification from voters seeking absentee ballots, and requires voters to request an absentee ballot for each election.
Black lawmakers accused Republicans of trying to suppress the minority vote, with Democratic state Rep. Omari Hardy calling it the "revival of Jim Crow in this state," the Washington Post reports. Critics said the restrictions would disproportionately affect minority voters, who are more likely to work nonstandard hours and rely on after-hours ballot drop boxes. They also noted that Democrats cast the majority of mail-in votes in 2020, and Republican lawmakers did not raise concerns about the process in 2016 and 2018, when more Republicans than Democrats voted by mail. "In 2020, there was no problem in Florida," said Kara Gross, legislative director for the ACLU Florida, per the Times. "Everything worked as it should. The only reason they’re doing this is to make it harder to vote." (Read more Florida stories.)