Republicans get away with cheating in voting bill DeSantis signs on Fox News | Opinion

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Shameless Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, drunk on the power that the spoils of the 2020 election bestowed on him, doesn’t hide his disregard for democratic principles.

He made that clear when he turned Thursday’s signing of the controversial elections bill, SB90, into a Fox News “exclusive,” as his spokeswoman called the event hosted by a Donald Trump fan club.

DeSantis barred all other news media from the West Palm Beach event, held behind closed doors, violating the spirit of the state’s Sunshine laws.

Last time I checked, they didn’t exempt autocratic Republicans.

But giddy, greedy DeSantis is using this bill, now law, for two purposes: To set up roadblocks for Democratic voters, who sent in a record number of votes by mail, to do so again in 2022 — and to keep peddling the big lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.

DeSantis signs voting bill before pro-Trump audience. Election supervisors concerned

Supporters of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Binh Vo, left, and Trang Le, of Orlando, wait in line for his appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Thursday, May 6, 2021, in West Palm Beach.
Supporters of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Binh Vo, left, and Trang Le, of Orlando, wait in line for his appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Thursday, May 6, 2021, in West Palm Beach.

Under a cloud

The voting bill is awash in irony and chicanery.

Republicans were the big cheaters in the 2020 election in Florida.

They stole at least one state Senate seat in Miami-Dade County, and at least three more competitive races are under a cloud of suspicion in Florida.

After Republicans delivered Florida to Donald Trump, and trounced Democrats in congressional and state legislature races, they boasted that the state had the best-run, cleanest elections in the country.

But, behind closed doors, they were concocting legislation that would chip away at Democratic gains in voter participation through more stringent identification requirements, making it more difficult to vote by mail and limiting the popular ballot drop-off boxes.

“Jim Crow 2.0,” Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat who represents parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, called the law.

“This blatant voter suppression will make it harder for voters — from low-income rural white communities to the elderly to communities of color — to have their voices heard,” Jones said. “It is clearly part of a coordinated, targeted assault strategy as Florida joins a long list of states pursuing similar disenfranchisement efforts in recent months.”

But Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio call criticism against Florida’s flawed law “propaganda.”

He has remained silent about his pal, former congressman David Rivera, violating campaign finance law when he funneled $75,927 to a ringer candidate in an illegal scheme against Rivera’s likely Democratic challenger.

He has remained silent about the election fraud committed by a member of the Miami Republican Cuban-American boys club — former state Sen. Frank Artiles, charged with felonies — but he’s happy to jump in and opine on the DeSantis signing show.

Former Florida state Sen. Frank Artiles is finally getting his due: criminal charges | Opinion

Retweeting a New York Times story that merely reports on the voting restrictions and DeSantis’ shut out, Rubio said: “Just like a ministry of propaganda they activate to spread lies, distortions & misinformation. The truth is the new #Florida law doesn’t make it more difficult to vote by mail. It makes it more difficult for political organizations to go out & collect thousands of ballots.”

Let’s see: DeSantis gives a behind-closed-doors exclusive broadcast to Fox News on a public measure to stoke the Republican Party base — and it’s journalists who are peddling propaganda?

Rubio not only is projecting, but he’s an accomplice to the attacks on our democracy.

Harder to vote

To be clear, most Florida supervisors of elections oppose this elections law.

Not a word of legislation that properly addresses the third-party candidate fraud perpetrated by Artiles in the race for Senate District 35, won by a Republican neophyte by 32 votes as a result, but an abundance of tinkering to make it harder, not easier, to vote.

The law establishes new voter-identification requirements for updating voter registration and applying for mail-in ballots. It reduces the number of elections a request for vote-by-mail covers, making people apply over and over again. It expands the zone outside polling facilities where no one can approach a voter by 50 feet.

I’ll be particularly watching this one in my predominantly Republican Miami Lakes precinct, where I’ve seen Trump supporters violating the existing limits — and no one doing a thing about it.

But there are two sets of rules in a once-purple Florida being railroaded into the red zone by people like DeSantis and Rubio, who constantly whines about President Joe Biden not being as bipartisan as he promised.

Darkness — in the form of voter suppression, attacks against free speech and protest, and disregard for independent established media — enveloped Florida during the legislative session.

Overwhelmingly Republican, lawmakers imposed their agenda and operated as minions under DeSantis’ thumb.

He, who lifts COVID emergency orders and opens Florida, but keeps the Capitol and the governor’s mansion closed to the public.

He, who refuses to make his agenda available to reporters in the morning and only sends it at the end of the day.

He, who hides from accountability.

When DeSantis calls a press conference, often away from Tallahassee as he is on constant campaign-like travels throughout the state, his office sends out notice at the last minute, forcing journalists to scramble.

And he refuses to take questions from reporters he knows ask the relevant, tougher questions.

A copy-cat of his dictator-wannabe mentor, the Fox News show is only another episode in a long-running series of infamy in Florida.

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