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Controversial new voting law signed in Florida

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A controversial new voting law has been signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantic. Critics argue it will make it harder for people to vote, particularly voters of color. Politico's Gary Fineout joins CBSN's Tanya Rivero for a closer look.

Video Transcript

TANYA RIVERO: Hello, everyone. I'm Tanya Rivero. Thank you for joining us. We begin this hour in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis has signed new voting restrictions into law. The Republican says the new measures will help solidify public faith in election systems. This comes just months after the governor praised the security of the 2020 elections.

Critics accused DeSantis of trying to make it harder for people to vote, particularly voters of color. The new restrictions placed limits on who can drop off ballots and when they can do so. It also requires voters to sign up for mail-in ballots every year. The law also prohibits any actions that could influence those standing in line to vote. That means nonpartisan groups can no longer hand out food or water to people waiting in the hot Florida sun.

Governor DeSantis signed the bill live on Fox News earlier this morning.

RON DESANTIS: Hey, look, I'm not a fan of drop boxes at all, to be honest with you. But that legislature wanted to keep them. But they need to be monitored. You can't just leave these boxes out where there's no supervision, where they're at all hours of the night. So the drop boxes will be available only when they're monitored and during regular voting hours.

TANYA RIVERO: For more, let's bring in Gary Fineout. He's the author of Politico's Florida Playbook. Gary, welcome. Great to have you with us. So as I mentioned off the top, Governor DeSantis praised the security of the 2020 elections. So why the change of heart, and why now?

GARY FINEOUT: Well, I think it's somewhat evident as to why the change now. I mean, I think there was a lot of conversation among Republicans and the Republicans base about the election, based, of course upon the assertions made by former President Trump that there were irregularities, that there was fraud, that it was rigged.

And so Florida has enacted changes to its laws, but in a way that doesn't go anywhere near as far as the president wanted, but at the same time does put obstacles, does put hindrances, and as we have already seen, has already been the catalyst for two lawsuits within minutes of the governor signing the bill into law today.

TANYA RIVERO: And let's talk about these lawsuits. As you mentioned, several of them have been filed today by a coalition that includes the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Black Voters Matter Fund. What will it actually take for this law to be overturned by a judge?

GARY FINEOUT: Well, that's a good question. If you-- there are two separate lawsuits, and they look at a couple of different things. One of them is whether or not the law will have a disproportionate impact upon minorities, upon the elderly, upon the disabled. Because some of the restrictions in the new law, for instance, put limits on how many ballots someone could pick up on behalf.

So you have Democrats and other critics are saying, look, if somebody has an elderly neighbor or they-- other people that just can't get out, it's going to be harder for them to get their-- their ballots put in the drop boxes or even delivered to the actual Supervisor of Elections office. And so a lot of the lawsuits are probably going to focus on, do these new restrictions make it harder to vote?

Now, what we've seen here in Tallahassee is the federal judge here has-- has decided against the DeSantis administration on several-- on several occasions. But, as was proven with the 2019 felons voting law, the Circuit Court of Appeals up in Atlanta, which has a lot of Trump appointees, sided with the state.

So what you could have is you could have a lot of litigation. You could have a trial. And then the question is, will the appeals court in Atlanta go ahead and just uphold it anyway?

TANYA RIVERO: Gary Fineout, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your insight.

GARY FINEOUT: Yeah, thank you. Thank you for having me.