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Watchdog group demands special legislative session before DeSantis signs faulty ‘election in

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. —Members of a Florida nonprofit who focus on free-and-fair elections say that

Florida’s election integrity bill, which passed the senate and the house late last month, has major omissions that could make elections in Florida less secure.

Florida Senate Bill 7050 passed both the house and the state senate, and is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign the bill.

“The bill, in its current state, does not adequately address concerns that Floridians have about election integrity,” said Steve Maxwell, co-founder of Citizens Defending Freedom. “Not only did legislators refuse to listen to concerned Floridians, but if signed into law in its current form, voter fraud would be easier to commit, especially since it does not require proof of citizenship or signature verification for new voter registrations.”

Volunteers from Citizens Defending Freedom in Polk County combed through SB 7050 and found many glaring omissions. As a result, the group is now pushing for DeSantis to call a special legislative session to address these concerns before signing the bill into law.

One concerning omission is that the bill does not adequately require proof of citizenship for those seeking to be added to the voter rolls. Rather, the bill requires only a Florida driver’s license or identification card or social security number in order to register to vote.

Representatives from Citizens Defending Freedom contend that the bill must require further proof of citizenship via a U.S. passport, a naturalization document or a birth certificate in order to prevent fraudulent voter applications.

Further, the law relaxes identification requirements for voters aged 65 and older, which Citizens Defending Freedom says is a demographic, which is already at risk of being defrauded.

Citizens Defending Freedom also worries about new language in the bill stating that only “officials” can raise concerns about possible voter fraud. In the past, according to the group, citizens and third-party organizations could report concerns for consideration.

“This new language is ambiguous, and could disenfranchise ordinary citizens by denying them the opportunity to act as election integrity watchdogs,” said Maxwell. “It’s also troubling that the input of concerned Floridians has been completely ignored.”

Florida lawmakers admitted as much during House proceedings regarding the bill, when they said that the bill was crafted from the opinions of the Secretary of State, election supervisors and members of the legislature.

“The fact that law makers totally ignored the voices of Floridians while crafting this bill is unacceptable, and Floridians deserve better,” said Maxwell. “If it wasn’t for the hard work our Florida team and other concerned citizens groups, Floridians might not have known about these omissions until it was too late.”

Furthermore, the group also says that the bill does not adequately address signature verifications on mail-in ballots, noting that “no quantifiable signature verification method is specified in order to ensure votes with fraudulent signatures are not being counted.”

Citizens Defending Freedom activists have approached lawmakers with these concerns and others, but only one Florida House Representative, Rick Roth of Palm Beach County, filed an amendment to the bill with Citizens Defending Freedom’s proposed amendments.

Those amendments were later withdrawn and were never heard on the House floor.

Founded in 2021, Citizens Defending Freedom is a non-profit organization that strategically employs county-level chapters across America to help citizens defend their faith and freedom, all while fighting for transparency in local government. Currently, Citizens Defending Freedom has official chapters in Florida, Georgia and Texas. The group is rapidly expanding its footprint, and expects to grow into one of America’s largest political nonprofits. Click here to learn more about Citizens Defending Freedom.



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