Charlie Crist outlines plan to fight Ron DeSantis election measures

Crist_Desantis side_by_side (5)
Crist is campaigning on several proposals that expand voter access as part of his gubernatorial platform.

Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is countering legislation that establishes stricter election provisions in Florida by campaigning to reverse the measures and providing proposals to expand voting access.

In an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times, Crist outlines his platform on election reform, which includes undoing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recently signed legislation that tightens Florida voting laws.

“Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Republican colleagues in Tallahassee care more about their political futures than our democracy and your right to vote,” Crist wrote. “There is no other explanation for their constant voter suppression efforts.”

DeSantis signed the elections bill (SB 90) on May 6, immediately coming under fire for how he went about it — the Governor signed the legislation into law behind closed doors as an on-air exclusive with Fox News. Media, except for the conservative news giant, weren’t allowed at the rally, prompting complaints from Democrats and reporters. Crist also quickly criticized DeSantis for the move.

That measure, which took effect upon DeSantis’ signature, incorporates much of his plan to erect what one lawmaker called “guardrails” around mail-in ballots and election administration law. It would expand a no-solicitation zone around polling places and prohibit handing out items, including food and drink, with the intent to sway a voter’s opinion. Ballots will also face increased signature review standards.

Republicans who favor stricter voting measures, considered one of the GOP’s priorities this past Legislative Session, argue that the legislation does not make it harder to vote, but instead safeguards the process.

But, as part of his gubernatorial platform, Crist is campaigning to reverse the new measures — what some have called “Jim Crow 2.0.”

“The legislation DeSantis signed into law last week is un-American, unconstitutional and anti-democratic. It doesn’t protect voting rights — it undercuts them,” Crist wrote. “It doesn’t make it easier to vote — it makes it much harder.”

In outlining his policy proposal, Crist said he wants to reverse DeSantis’ limits on mail ballots, threatening to declare a state of emergency before the next general election and make the changes himself if the Legislature refused to act. 

Crist also proposed adding Florida to the list of about 20 other states that automatically register anyone who seeks a driver’s license to vote. Once again, Crist insists that if the Legislature refused to act, the Governor and Cabinet could require the department to do it.

The gubernatorial candidate also wants to move the Florida primary from August to the spring, when he says more voters are here and turnout would be higher. He also is campaigning to make Election Day a state holiday, which would open up the day for many working voters.

Finally, Crist talks about Amendment 4, saying he would make it easier for the Governor and Cabinet to restore felon voting rights.

Voting access is likely to be a hot topic this election cycle, especially following unfounded fraud allegations made by former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Currently, incumbent DeSantis, a vocal Trump-ally, is leading the polls for the 2022 Governor’s race, having a double-digit lead over the most likely challengers to his reelection.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a Cherry Communications poll Monday asking about head-to-head matchups between DeSantis and three potential Democratic nominees.

Crist posts the best showing against DeSantis. But the Republican incumbent still leads Crist 51% to 41%, including holding a 50% to 33% edge among independent voters.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


  • Edward Lyle

    May 15, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Expect nothing substantive out of Chuck. He’ll bloviate the same old tired Democrat Party talking points, toss in some banal platitudes, and apply the standard Alinsky Projection tactics to distract from his Party’s own nefarious deeds.

    Same ol’ stuff, same ol’ hair, same ol’ Chuck.

  • Arthro

    May 16, 2021 at 8:25 am

    I’m glad to see that Charlie will be attracting attention away from better Democrat candidates like Val Demings. (Think about this…is Charlie running to promote long-standing Democrat principles that he holds? Or is it just another example of his ambition?) While Demings and Fried spend time destroying Pandering King Charlie, DeSantis will roll to re-election easily.

  • zhombre

    May 16, 2021 at 11:01 am

    Chain Gang Charlie in his latest avatar as the crusading anti-Trumpist Democrat has found another issue for the basis of his self promotion and demagoguery. What a putz. What a weasel. May this be his last hurrah.

  • PeterH

    May 16, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    Per 100,000 people ….. Florida holds eighth place in Covid pandemic deaths. Compared to densely populated Washington, DC ….. Florida’s death toll per 100,000 was double.

    ……and DeSantis calls this winning!

Comments are closed.


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