We’ve been covering the Florida state legislature from this perspective for some time now, as the degree to which Florida Republicans are beholden to DeSantis’ political objectives became increasingly clear. Each and every one of bills introduced in the state legislature attacking “wokeness,” diversity initiatives in schools, voting rights and the LGBT community in the past year have appeared hand-made to capture the attention of the furthest-right members of the MAGA base on a national level as DeSantis weighs a 2024 bid.
As DeSantis gears up to finally announce he’s running at the end of his state’s legislative session this month, his Republican friends in the state house gave him one final treat: the legislature passed several sweeping new restrictions on voting rights, and a change to election law that allows DeSantis to run for president and remain governor.
The way state law currently stands, DeSantis would have to submit a letter of resignation in order to run for a new office if the terms of the new office and his governorship were to intersect, as they would if he were elected president. The state law has been changed before, including for former Gov. Charlie Crist.
State Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon summed up her Republican colleagues’ ambitions well last week:
“Many in this body are doing the governor’s bidding,” she said. “If someone wants to run for president, let them. But don’t let the governor hold our state or hold Floridians hostage because of blind and drunk political ambition.”
On top of changing the “resign to run” provision of state law, Republicans also shoved through several new restrictions that will make it more difficult for minority voters to register to vote. The bill also adds a disclaimer to voter registration ID cards that is sure to discourage people from actually voting — it lets recipients know that having the card does not necessarily mean they are eligible to vote legally.
This all fuels a broader issue in Florida: DeSantis created a new task force last year that is, at its core, a political stunt designed to make widespread voter fraud seem like a problem in the state. In reality, the election crimes force arrested 20 people for voter fraud with past felony convictions who didn’t know they weren’t allowed to vote legally.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
What We Are Reading
School superintendent who criticized DeSantis could lose job — Orlando Sentinel