TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida state legislature voted today to pass S.B. 524, creating a special police task force to enforce Florida’s election laws, including barriers to voting under S.B. 90. Voting rights organizations have condemned this bill out of concern that the taskforce would burden and discriminate against communities of color.
The following statement is from Caren Short, Interim Deputy Legal Director for Voting Rights with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Action Fund:
“Last year, Governor Ron DeSantis and state legislators created unprecedented barriers to voting that targeted communities of color with S.B. 90. Now, those same anti-voter politicians are using taxpayer dollars to create a special force that will criminalize Florida voters who have done nothing more than sign a form in the wrong place, stuff an envelope incorrectly, or just not follow the complicated rules of S.B. 90.
“Whatever excuses Governor DeSantis and anti-voter politicians have constructed are only a ruse to hide their real goal: to diminish democracy and the voices of voters to remain in office. The truth is that Governor DeSantis is using taxpayer dollars to create a personal police force to advance his own political interests.
“It is wrong for Governor DeSantis and state legislators to take money needed for community investment and use it to diminish the voices of that community. It is wrong for them to criminalize Floridians exercising their freedom to vote. And it is wrong for them to target communities of color.
“As we continue opposing these barriers to voting, we encourage all Floridians to mobilize their communities to make their voices heard and their votes count in spite of these barriers.”