Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a voter suppression bill into law Thursday, granting "Fox & Friends" exclusive access to the cover the signing. (Image: screenshot/"Fox & Friends")

'This Is How Fascists Operate': DeSantis Signs Anti-Voting Bill Behind Closed Doors for Fox News

"Democracy is literally dying in the dark."

Julia Conley

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday barred local media outlets from covering his signing of S.B. 90, the latest state-level voter suppression law which makes voting by mail—which millions of Floridians have done for years—more difficult and discourages voters from waiting in long lines at the polls.

The Republican governor, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, gave Fox News exclusive access to the bill signing, drawing condemnation from rights advocates and at least one local reporter who learned Thursday morning that he would not be able to cover the event.

"We were a pool camera, assigned to feed this event to affiliates nationwide. Now, the only camera will be Fox News," tweeted CBS 12 reporter Jay O'Brien. "It's not just us. Not a single reporter is being let in. This in a 'sunshine' state that prides itself on open government." 

Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, a Democrat who represents District 47, was appalled.

Journalist and voting rights expert Ari Berman said DeSantis's decision to bar all media outlets other than Fox, which joined Trump last year in claiming that allowing expanded voting by mail in the 2020 election would lead to rampant fraud, was "extremely telling."

"Democracy [is] literally dying in the dark," Berman added.

Other critics echoed the rebuke.

DeSantis proudly told "Fox & Friends" he believes S.B. 90 contains the nation's "strongest election integrity measures" as he signed the legislation. The law requires votes to reapply for mail-in ballots every two years rather than every four years, as they did under previous guidelines; restricts the use of election drop boxes; and prohibits actions that could assist people waiting to vote—including offering "items" such as water or food.

The new law is modeled on a voter suppression measure passed in Georgia in March. Lawmakers in Iowa, Utah, and Arkansas have also passed similar laws ahead of the 2022 election, and legislators in 47 states have introduced 361 voter suppression bills, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.  

As of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states.

By signing the bill, said the civil rights organization All Voting Is Local-Florida, "DeSantis is continuing a disturbing, nationwide trend of turning lies into legislation."

"The truth is during the 2020 election cycle, Floridians refused to choose between their health and the right to vote, casting vote-by-mail ballots in record numbers so they could safely and securely steer the fate of our democracy," said Brad Ashwell, director of the organization. "SB90 weaponizes lies and uses them as a basis to exact a vendetta against Floridians, assaulting our freedom to vote. There is no integrity in restricting access to the ballot box.”

Following the signing of S.B. 90, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a federal lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, on behalf of Common Cause, Disability Rights Florida, and Florida NAACP. The groups denounced DeSantis and the state Republican Party for "using the myth of voter fraud to pass sweeping restrictions on voting."

"SB 90 creates barriers between Floridians and their right to vote. By signing this bill, Gov. DeSantis added Florida to the shameful list of states that are moving backward on voting access, rather than forward," said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for Common Cause. "Every voter in America has the right to have their voice heard, by casting and having their ballot counted—that's how our government 'by the people' is supposed to work."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

As Other States Try to Copy Texas, SCOTUS Asked to Find Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

The request from healthcare providers comes after a Florida Republican filed a copycat bill and advocacy groups called on Congress to affirm the right to abortion nationwide.

Jessica Corbett ·


As Bids to Slash Pentagon Budget Fail, US Military Spending Slammed as 'Height of Absurdity'

"Spending $780 billion on weapons and war while our communities starve, while the climate crisis worsens, while a pandemic that has killed millions and affected countless more rages on, is a national shame."

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is Big': House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, "sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade."

Andrea Germanos ·


Praised for 'Braving the Smears,' Tlaib Votes Against $1 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

One rights group thanked Tlaib "for speaking truth to power" while being attacked "for simply insisting that Palestinians are human beings who deserve safety, security, and freedom from Israeli apartheid."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Choice Point for Humanity': Women Demand Visionary Shift at UN Climate Talks

"This is the time to unite together to build the healthy and just future we know is possible for each other and the Earth."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo