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Florida ‘Will Be Sued’ for Latest Election Bill, Lawyer Warns

Democratic attorney Marc E. Elias warned that Florida “will be sued” if Governor Ron DeSantis signs into law a bill that would overhaul the state’s elections—and make it easier for the governor to run for president.

The Florida state Senate on Wednesday approved SB 7050, a bill that would substantially change elections in Florida, long seen as a competitive state that shifted toward Republicans in recent election cycles. The bill would place new restrictions on vote-by-mail, which has come under scrutiny from Republicans who argue mail-in voting makes elections vulnerable to fraud. It would also modify the state’s resign-to-run law, which currently requires elected officials to resign before running for president.

It comes as Republican state legislatures across the United States continue to pass measures they say would strengthen election security, which emerged as a leading issue for the GOP after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden. Many Republicans blamed his loss on widespread fraud, though substantial evidence has not backed up these claims.

Democrats, however, have opposed this bill, saying that the legislation would make it more difficult to vote in elections and is meant to strengthen Republican control of the state.

Elias, an elections lawyer who has long represented the Democratic Party, said on Saturday that Florida will face a lawsuit if DeSantis signs the bill. His warning comes as the organization Democracy Docket, which monitors election lawsuits across the U.S., said it is tracking the legislation.

“If and when DeSantis signs this voter suppression bill, Florida will be sued,” Elias tweeted.

Newsweek reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment via email.

The bill would also create new identification requirements for first-time voters, as well as third party voter registration organizations. It would also make it illegal to harass election workers, according to a report from Miami-based television news station WTVJ. If signed, the bill would go into effect starting July 1, 2023.

DeSantis continues to be viewed as a potential candidate in the 2024 presidential election, despite not yet announcing a campaign. Polls show him as the Republican with the greatest chance of beating Trump in the GOP primary, though his chances of victory have declined in recent weeks as Republicans coalesce around the former president amid his ongoing legal troubles.

According to an aggregate of recent polls from FiveThirtyEight, DeSantis is averaging at 22.9 percent nationally, while Trump is receiving support from 52 percent of likely GOP primary voters. One month prior, Trump was receiving 48.4 percent of support, while DeSantis polled at 27.2 percent, according to the polling aggregate.

Florida is already facing ongoing litigation in a high-profile lawsuit filed last month by Disney, which is alleging DeSantis retaliated against the corporation because it spoke out against legislation that restricts discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in state schools.

The lawsuit claims DeSantis’ efforts to nullify longstanding agreements with Disney allowing it a degree of self-governance at its Orlando-area theme park are meant as revenge for speaking out against the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill also sparked criticism from pro-business conservatives.

Source : News Week

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