Newly revealed text messages from POLITICO show that the Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, State Senator Joe Gruters, worked with his fellow Florida legislators to design the state’s new restrictive voter law with the sole intention of improving Republicans’ electoral prospects instead of giving voters fair representation.
While the bill was being considered in the legislature, Gruters attempted to persuade state lawmakers to cancel all existing mail-in ballot requests–an extraordinary anti-voter proposal–with the explicit goal of helping Republican political candidates win.
“These new revealed admissions from the Florida Republican Party confirms what we already know: Republicans and their dark money allies are passing laws to limit the freedom to vote in a cynical effort to win elections,” said End Citizens United // Let America Vote Action Fund President Tiffany Muller. “This is a dangerous and despicable tactic that underscores the need for the U.S. Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, which would counteract these anti-voter bills and ensure that every American can make their voice and vote heard at the ballot box.”
Florida passed a restrictive voting law earlier this year, which was one of at least 31 laws designed to limit access to the ballot box that Republican-led legislatures in 18 different states have passed this year. Florida’s law imposed significant barriers to accessible methods of casting a ballot like drop-boxes and mail-in voting.
Key points from POLITICO on how the Florida GOP crafted the law to help them win elections:
“Emails and text messages obtained by POLITICO show Florida’s new law was drafted with the help of the Republican Party of Florida’s top lawyer — and that a crackdown on mail-in ballot requests was seen as a way for the GOP to erase the edge that Democrats had in mail-in voting during the 2020 election.”
“One text message exchange showed Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters defending a Senate proposal to cancel all existing mail-in ballot requests, saying that it would be ‘devastating’ for Republicans to keep them valid heading into the 2022 election.”
“The Florida legislature decided to shorten the time mail-in ballot requests are valid, but didn’t cancel current ones. When asked about his text messages, Gruters said ‘what I said in my text message was accurate. I think the failure to do a reset will have a detrimental impact going forward.’”