U.S. Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is hitting the road for a Voting Rights Tour of the state, as he plans to shine a light on recent efforts from Florida GOP leadership to implement stricter voting provisions.
The tour, which begins Tuesday and continues through Friday, will reach seven cities across Florida.
“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and listening to the voices of the people is the first job of any public servant,” Crist said in a news release. “Governor (Ron) DeSantis wants to divide Floridians and suppress the votes of people he doesn’t agree with. I believe to my core that’s wrong. I’m running for Governor to build a Florida for all Floridians, and that starts with actually listening to Floridians and fighting to protect everyone’s right to vote.”
During the tour, Crist will campaign and host roundtables with local residents and community leaders working to expand voting access. The Congressman plans to travel to Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Broward County, Miami, Orlando and Gainesville.
Voting rights are already a hot topic in the gubernatorial race, following DeSantis’ May signing of the elections bill (SB 90). 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.
Republicans supportive of the bill argue there are several ways to vote in Florida, making it hard to not vote, and the legislation adds safeguards. However, the measure received criticism from Democrats, who called the bill an act of voter suppression and likened it to “Jim Crow 2.0.”
DeSantis signed the elections bill 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.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, another Democrat who has announced a run against the incumbent, was even quicker to the punch, tweeting her response minutes before Crist did.
“(DeSantis) can’t stand the heat of the public while he’s suppressing the vote. So weak,” she wrote.