Florida House of Representative member Allison Tant appeared on Above the Fold with Tallahassee Reports editor Steve Stewart on March 30. During the interview, Tant – who represents District 9 which includes Leon County – commented on legislation related to voting and protests.
The House bill related to voting focuses on the vote by mail process. The bill will make it harder for supervisors of elections to accept signatures on mail-in ballots and voters will be required to request mail-in ballots every two years instead of four. The bill will retain the use of drop boxes and put in place new security measures which include surveillance by office employees or law-enforcement officers during regular working hours.
During the show, Tant expressed that the last election cycle in Florida was fair and legal even if she did not agree with some of the results. When talking about the issue of drop boxes, she said they were necessary because of the pandemic and that she advocated for manned drop boxes that were only open during voting hours.
Tant, who is a member of the House Public Integrity and Elections Committee, talked about how the proposal to make a signature on a mail-in ballot part of the public record could create privacy issues for voters.
Tant said she does not support the change to requesting an absentee ballot every two years because she does not see how that would fix any issues of fraud and it could cost too much money.
Later in the show, Tant addressed measure (CS/HB 1) which is known as the “anti-riot bill.” The bill has become one of the most divisive issues during the session. Opponents say the bill is a racially tinged attack on free speech and is defended by supporters as needed to protect businesses and communities from violence.
The bill is aimed at decreasing violent protests by creating a list of new crimes, increasing legal penalties, and making it harder for local governments to cut police spending.
The legislation was approved 76-39 in the Republican-dominated House, with the vote breaking along party lines.
Tant said that she received thousands of emails about this bill and none of them asked her to vote yes. She mentioned that even though the bill managed to pass the House, it did not seem to have a lot of support.
Tant believes that this is a political bill given that rioting, looting, causing property damage, and bodily harm are already illegal.