House advances elections bill with new restrictions for voter registration groups

'If you love America and love democracy, this ain’t the bill for you.'

A large bill reworking elections laws passed through the House State Affairs Committee over objections from Democrats that the measure will make it harder to register to vote and cast a ballot by mail.

The measure (PCB SAC 23-01) would ban noncitizens and those convicted of violating the election code from handling voter registration applications and impose a $50,000 fine on third-party voter registration organizations for each infraction. It also reduces the time for those groups to turn in voter applications from 14 days to 10 days before facing daily fines of $50, up to $2,500.

Other provisions of the bill would require voters to request a mail ballot at least 12 days before an election and would ban local Supervisors of Elections from mailing out a ballot within 10 days before an election.

Rep. Lawrence McClure, a Dover Republican sponsoring the bill, defended those measures as needed to ensure voter information on registrations handled by third-party groups isn’t misused, and as giving more time for Supervisors to receive mail ballots before Election Day.

“Voters’ information is sacred,” McClure said.

Democrats objected to those provisions, claiming they amount to a chilling effect on voter registration groups and are designed to make it harder to vote.

“If you love America and love democracy, this ain’t the bill for you,” said Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, a St. Petersburg Democrat.

The bill also reduces the reporting requirements for political committees from monthly to quarterly. The reporting requirements used to be quarterly until 2013, when lawmakers eliminated donation caps while moving to monthly reports, arguing the increased frequency would provide more transparency for voters.

But McClure argued it would still provide plenty of transparency.

“I struggle with the notion of members of the public aren’t going to be aware,” McClure said. “It’s just making it more efficient.”

Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, disputed that, noting that quarterly reports would allow donations to lawmakers in the first quarter of a year to remain hidden until mid-April, when reports are due.

When the Legislature convenes a Regular Session in January, which it has done in even-numbered years for nearly a decade, voters wouldn’t know which companies gave to which lawmakers just before the Session began. The panel rejected Eskamani’s amendment to strip that change out of the bill.

“There’s nothing wrong with the current system and I think the only individuals this benefits (are) politicians and their political committees,” Eskamani said.

Gray Rohrer


  • Republicans Hate Democracy

    April 19, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    It’s weird how a party that’s always waving the flag and trying to pretend how patriotic they are is always doing these weird things to try and get people to stop voting.

  • Bernie

    April 19, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    How can the Constitution allow a bill not allowing an absentee ballot received by election date close of business to be counted or for an absentee ballot to be received up to and including election date to allow an informed voter to cast a ballot. I managed 2 Democrat and 10 Republican elections for Florida Senate and County Commissioners over 37 years and provided absentee ballots to informed elderly or hospitalized quality 4 and 5 voters all the time. Never lost an election. My wife who is disabled is a quality five absentee Republican voter and so am I. Regulations on ballot harvesting and non-citizens is fine but don’t take our right to vote up and until the moment the polls close at 7 pm Election Day by absentee ballot if necessary. Florida does not have the election issues with absentee ballot harvesting and manipulation after Election Day that other states have experienced in last two general elections. What are you trying to fix???

  • Acid Head Adelbert AkA Far Right Ed 👍

    April 19, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    When will they go after the biggest election crook in American history? He’s right down in Mar-a-Lago. Filed frivolous litigation to overturn a free and fair election. Said, “I just need you to find more votes than we have.”

  • gloriajame

    April 19, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Mike, fantastic work. I applaud your efforts since I now earn more than $36,000 every month from just one basic online firm! These are the most fundamental internet operations be-05 jobs, yet you may start earning a consistent online income with as little as $29,000.
    Alter The Connection———————————————>>>

  • Diane

    April 20, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    It is really hypocritical for Republican legislators to impose unnecessary restrictions on voting as the Repub governor pulls out of the best election integrity system in existence (which cost over a million tax dollars to join) – the ERIC system helps election supervisors identify people registered to vote in 2 different state, e.g., the Repub double-voters in The Villages. Especially suspicious as we’ve seen Repub registrations skyrocket with a supposed influx of new residents.

Comments are closed.


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