A combination of new election laws and congressional redistricting has made it harder for Black communities in Florida to organize and vote, activists say.
Florida, which concludes its primary elections on Tuesday, is among various Republican-led states that have passed laws since the 2020 election that place new restrictions on voters — as well as on third-party groups that play a big role in registering racial minorities in Florida.
Ben Frazier and his small civil rights organization, the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, recently spent an afternoon in the city helping a group of older Black voters update their voter registration.
That way, Frazier said, there are no issues when they go to vote.
“We don’t want your voter registration form to be thrown out for any reason,” he said. “They are doing a lot of different things to suppress the Black vote in this city and in this state.”
Last year, Republican lawmakers in Florida passed Senate Bill 90, a sweeping law requiring people to apply to vote by mail more often. It also set new limits on drop boxes. And this year, legislators passed Senate Bill 524, which creates new and harsher penalties for voter registration organizations for things like turning in forms late.Sponsor Message
And notably, Frazier said, the latter law created a new policing unit focused on voting crimes.
“I think all of that has a chilling effect. People are afraid of the police,” he said. “We know that this is one of many attempts to suppress the Black vote.”