Amy Gardner for WaPo:
Virtually every narrow Republican victor of the past generation — and there have been many, including two of the state’s current top officeholders, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott — owes their victory, at least in part, to mail voting.
Now, some Florida Republicans are reacting with alarm after the GOP-dominated state legislature, with DeSantis’s support, passed a far-reaching bill Thursday night that puts new restrictions on the use of mail ballots.
Not only are GOP lawmakers reversing statutes that their own predecessors put in place, but they are also curtailing a practice that millions of state Republicans use, despite former president Donald Trump’s relentless and baseless claims that it invites fraud.
Even as Democrats and voting rights advocates accuse the proponents of Senate Bill 90 of attempting to suppress the votes of people of color, these Republicans say their own political fortunes are in peril, too….
As Gruters’s Senate Bill 90 was debated in the legislature this year, some Republicans privately expressed worry that it could further undercut the party’s ability to encourage mail voting — particularly among military voters and the elderly, who overwhelmingly use that method to cast their ballots.
One former state party official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay private conversations said some Republicans briefly discussed whether lawmakers could exempt those two groups from the provision requiring voters to request mail ballots every election cycle. “Key lawmakers said, ‘You can’t do that,’ ” the former official said. “It would raise equal protection problems.”
Now, the damage is done, he added. “Now, you’ll have military personnel who might not think they have to request a ballot who won’t get it. And we’ve got senior voters who have health concerns or just don’t want to go out. They might not know the law has changed, and they might not get a ballot, because they’re not engaged.”
Several state Republican operatives said they have spoken directly to lawmakers in their party who did not like Senate Bill 90 — but were unwilling to speak up for fear of incurring the wrath of party leaders and their own supporters.
Greg Sargent column:
Republicans are responding to their 2020 losses by doing everything they can to restrict the size of the electorate wherever possible, in ways they think will advantage them. To disguise this ugly game, they’ve rolled out all sorts of disingenuous talking points, claiming they want to restore “confidence” in our elections or, even more absurdly, to ensure “election integrity.”
But every now and then the mask slips, making the truth about these efforts even harder to deny.