Florida citizens are still trying to pick themselves up after the damage of Hurricane Ian. However, Florida Governor Ron Desantis has only elected to make voting easier for one million voters located in three Republican counties, according to the Washington Post. This comes as the 2022 midterm elections are only three weeks away.
Last Thursday, Desantis signed an executive order extending early voting days and allowing voters to send mail-in ballots from addresses not listed in voting records. It also suspends some of the requirements for poll workers. This only goes into effect for about 1 million voters in Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties. With these counties, in particular, more than 450,000 of them registered as Republican. Lee County provided a 62,000-vote margin to DeSantis in the 2018 election when he slightly beat his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillium.
Voting rights groups had previously asked Desantis to extend the statewide voter registration deadline and to add more early voting days across the board. However, DeSantis said the decision to only accommodate three counties was “based on the collective feedback of the Supervisors of Elections across the state and at the written requests of the Supervisors of Elections in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties.” Yeah, right.
Florida director of All Voting is Local Brad Ashwell questioned the use of untrained poll workers in those three counties alone.
“State officials must do more to ensure voting access after one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history,” Ashwell said. “Voters in any storm-affected county in Florida, not just the three where local elections officials asked for help, deserve extended time and resources to adequately cast their ballots. The state must consider the needs of voters across the state, not just the needs of supervisors of elections in a few counties.”
People look at these moves, and they draw warranted concern. Equal Ground founder Jasmine Burney-Clark says that Floridians all over have been displaced.
From The Washington Post:
“Tens of thousands of Floridians have been displaced, and today’s executive order fails to meet the moment and ensure voting access for all Florida voters,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of voter rights organization Equal Ground, in a statement. “Instead, Governor DeSantis is politicizing a natural disaster.”