Senate Appropriations Committee to consider “Anti-Voter Freedom Act”

Tomorrow at 9am, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider SB 524, which would create an “Office of Election Crimes & Security” similar to that proposed by Governor Ron DeSantis, and make additional changes to Florida’s election laws.

A proposed new version of the bill was released last night, less than 40 hours before the committee’s meeting. Livestream of the meeting should be available here.


Statement of Common Cause Director of Voting and Elections Sylvia Albert

After the 2020 elections, Governor DeSantis was so proud of Florida’s elections that he urged the rest of the country to use them as a model.

Yet the closer we get to 2024, the more changes he wants to make – and at least so far, Florida’s Legislature seems willing to indulge his whims. 

Supervisors of Elections are already having to deal with the changes made by last year’s anti-voter law. They will also need to manage changes required by the new district maps that are still being drawn. And now the Legislature wants to add another layer of new duties under this new proposal.

Changes have costs – and there has not been any calculation of costs for this legislation. 

The legislation also fails to incorporate constituent feedback. How can voters weigh in, when the bill is being pushed through the process so quickly? We’re hearing from our members that “lots of people feel that their voice doesn’t matter.” Does the Florida Legislature care?

Does the Legislature care about the other message it’s sending, by increasing penalties for what could be accidental violations of law, and creating new types of election crimes – and then creating a new law enforcement bureaucracy to investigate them?

No voter should have to factor the likelihood of getting investigated into their calculation of whether and how to vote. No one should face felony prosecution for helping three friends by taking their ballots to the post office. No Floridian should be left wondering if this Legislature is trying to consolidate power by picking-and-choosing voters. 

Our ‘government by the people’ is stronger and more representative when more people vote. SB 524 flies in the face of that ideal. The Appropriations Committee should stop this steamroller in its tracks and defeat this bill.