Senate Bill 7050 now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature before becoming law
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Florida lawmakers passed Senate Bill 7050 (SB 7050), a sweeping bill aimed at making it harder for community-based organizations to register Floridians to vote. The bill creates barriers for organizations that conduct voter registration drives by dramatically increasing fines, implementing shorter deadlines on voter registration forms, and restricting who can assist with voter registration drives.
This bill will harm organizations that play a vital role in registering voters of all political backgrounds but are especially essential for engaging Black and brown communities in the democratic process. Additionally, SB 7050 threatens organizations with extreme fines, and bans permanent legal residents from conducting voter registration, violating their First Amendment rights and requiring volunteer organizations to conduct full background checks on every single volunteer or risk fines of $50,000 per person.
Kirk Bailey, political director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today's vote with the following:
“We should be breaking down barriers to voting, but this bill does nothing to help voters. Our efforts should focus on protecting voters by getting rid of voter registration deadlines to expand participation in our democracy. Instead, we’re penalizing organizations that encourage people to vote.
“Black and Hispanic voters are five times more likely to be registered to vote by these organizations than white voters. Lawmakers know this is a bill that would disproportionately impact many Black and brown Floridians who rely on community-based groups to keep them updated on voting rules, which are already difficult to understand. This is the third year in a row that the legislature is changing rules while attacking those who provide community-based voter education and support. This isn’t fair to Florida voters.
“The bill also treats all non-citizens – including permanent legal residents who are U.S. nationals – as untrustworthy, prohibiting them from even touching voter registration forms and essentially banning them from helping with voter registration in their communities. This is egregious discrimination against immigrants, plain and simple.
“This much is clear: this bill will make it harder for Floridians to register to vote. The legislature should be empowering Floridians to register their friends, families, and neighbors to vote, not limiting them.
“If we are truly a free state and love our democracy, we should want people to be civically engaged and make it easier for them to do so.”