Ron DeSantis bragged about Florida's election — exposing his real reason for new voting changes

Ron DeSantis bragged about Florida's election — exposing his real reason for new voting changes
Ron DeSantis // Government of Florida / Public domain

In November 2020, Democrats were disappointed that now-President Joe Biden lost Florida's 29 electoral votes to then-President Donald Trump but applauded its elections officials for their efficient vote-counting operation, commenting that they obviously learned their lessons from Bush v. Gore and 2000's vote-counting debacle in the Sunshine State. But despite that efficiency, Florida Republicans haven't abandoned voter suppression — and Miami-based Washington Post opinion writer Lizette Alvarez takes them to task for it in an op-ed published on March 2.

"Something remarkable happened in Florida this past Election Day: A state long lampooned for its ballot bumbling simply added up its votes and secured a winner, Donald Trump, not long after the polls closed," Alvarez comments. "The election efficiency felt like a miracle."

After the election, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a far-right Republican and Trump sycophant, tweeted, "Florida is a model for the rest of the nation to follow."

"For DeSantis, the state's 2020 performance was a double-barreled victory — a smooth election and a major swing-state win for Trump, even though the president ultimately lost the election," Alvarez explains. "But that apparently wasn't good enough for the governor and Florida's Republican statehouse leadership. They now want to 'reform' the state's electoral system, particularly mail-in balloting."

Alvarez continues, "An election reform bill, which has already cleared its first committee, and a plan promoted by DeSantis would make it harder, not easier, for voters to obtain ballots and then drop off or mail them. Turns out, suppressing the vote in Florida is still more tantalizing to Republicans than facilitating the vote."

Florida, of course, is hardly the only state where Republicans are pushing voter suppression bills. Everywhere from Georgia to Iowa, Republicans are ramping up efforts to make it harder to vote.

"Why weren't DeSantis and his GOP allies satisfied with the state's 2020 election performance?," Alvarez writes. "For one thing, the national Republican Party, which continues to indulge Trump's vote-fraud fantasy, issued marching orders — and Florida quickly fell into lockstep. Thirty-two other states, including Georgia — which voted for Joe Biden and elected two Democratic U.S. senators — are pushing election overhauls this year that would make it harder to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice."

Alvarez notes that Florida State Sen. Dennis Baxley, a Republican, introduced a bill that "would force voters to request a ballot every calendar year if they want to vote by mail" — and this is the same Dennis Baxley who, in 2007, sponsored a bill that expanded mail-in ballots in Florida. Alvarez points out that historically, more Republicans than Democrats "embraced the convenience of mail-in ballots" — and African-American Democrats preferred to vote in person.

"Last year, the preference flip-flopped, likely because of the pandemic, but also, because of Trump's ceaseless proclamations that mail-in ballots would be stolen, lost or destroyed," Alvarez observes. "Florida Republicans, though, just can't resist dreaming up new ways to suppress the vote."

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