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Protesters line U.S. 441 in Lady Lake to denounce Baxley’s elections bill

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The Rev. John Brown leads a prayer during a protest outside Sen. Dennis Baxley's office in Lady Lake on Saturday. Photo: Joe Byrnes

About 60 protesters lined U.S. 441 in front of Sen. Dennis Baxley’s empty office in Lady Lake on Saturday.

The Democrats and religious leaders denounced a bill that would eliminate ballot drop boxes.

The Rev. John Brown looks on as the Rev. Sandy Haxton tapes a petition signed by ministers to the door of Sen. Dennis Baxley’s office in Lady Lake. They oppose SB 90 as “an attack on our democracy.” Photo: Joe Byrnes

They held signs against SB 90.  They also opposed a House bill increasing criminal penalties for people involved when protests turn violent.

Baxley’s bill eliminates voter drop boxes, restricts vote by mail, deletes current mail-in ballot requests and requires a new one each election cycle.

Organizers say those changes, coming after a smooth election in Florida, are meant to suppress minority votes.

Patty Jackson,71,  of Groveland wore a red-white-and-blue mask saying “Hate has no place here.”

“All of these tactics,” she said, “we’re going back unfortunately to Jim Crow, and we hopefully don’t want to go back there.”

Villages Trump-supporter Debbie Odom was there to confront protesters.

“I want to improve voter election and ID,” she said. “I want people to prove that they’re alive. I want to prove that they live in one state and that they’re actually a resident voting legally.”

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.