As the 2020 election came to a close, Republicans and Democrats grew more divided. In turn, the H.R. 1 voting rights bill was introduced as a result of the election but has deepened the existing congressional divide in Congress.
Democrats have accused Republicans of wanting to implement voter suppression, and Republicans have accused Democrats of wanting to implement egregious voting methods to alienate minority voters. In response to the H.R. 1 bill, Florida Senator Dennis Baxley (R), who is the Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, introduced an elections proposal (SB 90) that would ban drop boxes for ballots throughout Florida.
This has drawn a strong response from Florida Democrats like Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D), the leader of the Blue Dog Coalition and a potential rival for Senator Marco Rubio’s (R) Senate seat in the upcoming 2022 midterm election. Rep. Murphy has called the proposal “shameful” and “down-right wrong.”
Because of “a real security concern,” Baxley introduced the proposal, saying that he wants “to maintain that chain of evidence from the time they vote to the time until they get counted so we don’t have a mishap.”
However, Rep. Murphy slammed Baxley’s proposal in a Twitter post, arguing that “drop boxes are a safe, convenient way for voters to submit their ballots.” Calling the proposal “disingenuous,” she expressed that “Tallahassee Republicans are once again trying to make it more difficult to vote just so they can cling to power.”
Murphy voting along party lines to pass the controversial H.R. 1, which would overhaul the entire U.S. election system to a federal level.
Florida Rep. Byron Donalds (R) called the bill “The worst pieces of legislation coming through Capitol Hill.”
“If enacted, the bill would further the use of absentee ballots, and ballot harvesting, which is the practice of collecting ballots across a district and dropping them off at a voting precinct, by the HUNDREDS. The idea in itself is un-American. Donalds questions in terms of ballot harvesting, asking, “How does that help actually the sanctity of the vote, and protecting every American citizen.”
Drop boxes are a safe, convenient way for voters to submit their ballots. Tallahassee Republicans are once again trying to make it more difficult to vote just so they can cling to power. It's disingenuous. It's shameful. And it's down-right wrong. https://t.co/xR7sgZTcWG #FlaPol
— Stephanie Murphy (@SMurphyCongress) March 10, 2021
However, Baxley argues that that’s not the case. “You can mail it or bring it to the office,” he explained.
Still, the proposal has drawn ire from a number of lawmakers and local election supervisors.