'Tell Them to Vote Hell No!': Trump Republicans Furious at Florida's New Election Bill

'Tell Them to Vote Hell No!': Trump Republicans Furious at Florida's New Election Bill

A new elections bill would bring back run-off elections and diminish the number of mail-in drop-boxes, angering Republicans and Democrats alike

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
February 20, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Seven weeks into the nine-week Legislative Session, the Florida House has unveiled a major new election bill, reinstating runoff primaries for the next Governor election and drastically reducing the number of mail-in ballot drop-off boxes—and Republicans are not happy.

PCB 24-06, a 44-page bill revealed yesterday by the House State Affairs Committee, makes sweeping changes to Florida election laws, just in time for Florida's 2026 Governor election. The first major change is revived runoff elections—a second primary election if no candidate wins the first primary. Florida got rid of the runoff after the messy Presidential election in 2000, and as a result, Democrat Andrew Gillum beat out Gwen Graham in the 2018 Democratic Primary with only 34% of the vote.

Conservatives speculate that this last-minute bill is designed to prevent MAGA-affiliated candidates from winning elections and placing Trump-esque lawmakers as the "face" of the Republican Party. Anthony Sabatini, a former Florida Representative, took to the platform "X"  Monday evening, voicing his discontent with the bill and its perceived motivations.

"A double primary runoff system allows moderate Republicans to gather together & beat the more conservative candidate in any runoff election," said Sabatini. "One of the reasons Florida has become a conservative leader is the LACK of a runoff election system since 2002. Call EVERY Republican legislator, tell them to vote HELL NO on PCB SAC 24-06!!"
Trump ally U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a potential frontrunner for the 2026 gubernatorial election, attacked the economics of the legislation, explaining that a runoff election will drive up election costs to taxpayers "by the millions,". "I will do all I can to defeat this misguided proposal," He said yesterday.
The measure's other big change is drawing ire from the Democratic side, with a ban on mail-in drop-off boxes at major government buildings like city halls, civic centers, or county courthouses, limiting the boxes exclusively to the county supervisor's main office, branch offices, and early-voting sites. Politico reporter Gary Fineout wrote on "X" that this "would reduce the number of drop boxes in Pinellas County from 24 to 7,".
Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani said that while she is open to bringing back runoffs, she is "opposed to reducing the number of drop boxes that will be available to voters,".
"We want every Floridian to have their voice heard when they cast their ballot and ensure we host the safest and most efficient elections in the nation," Republican Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, one of the voices behind the bill, said.
To stand a chance at being signed into law, the bill has only two weeks to pass committees and make it on to the floors of both chambers for a vote.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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