Oct 25, 2022 - News

How Florida has become less voter-friendly

Illustration of a falling voting booth against a background with abstract ballot elements.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Florida ranks 33rd in the nation for voting access, according to the nonpartisan 2022 Cost of Voting Index published in the Election Law Journal.

What's happening: Some states made voting easier during the COVID-19 pandemic. Others, like Florida, which dropped five slots from 2020, made it more difficult.

Context: The index ranks states by comparing categories like ease of registration, early voting availability, and the hours that polls are open.

State of play: Gov. Ron DeSantis has tightened election rules since 2020. This spring, he created a new statewide law enforcement agency to investigate claims of voter fraud, which announced 20 arrests in August.

  • A law he signed last year put new limits on who can collect and drop off ballots, restricted the use of ballot drop boxes, and tightened requirements for non-government groups that hold voter registration drives, among other changes.

Of note: DeSantis signed an order this month extending early voting and mail ballot access through Nov. 8 for voters in three counties hardest hit by Hurricane Ian, NPR reports.

Zoom out: Florida wasn't the worst state for voting access. New Hampshire ranked last, followed by Mississippi, Arkansas and Wisconsin.

  • Oregon, which has automatic voter registration and all-mail voting, is considered the easiest state to vote in.

What they're saying: Florida's "new police force may lead to election interference and voter intimidation," the voting index authors wrote.

  • They plan to evaluate its effect on the cost of voting after at least one election cycle.

Get election-ready: It's too late to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election, but you can still request a vote-by-mail ballot through Saturday. View your sample ballot here.


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