Marco Rubio panned for saying voting drop boxes are dangerous because people may blow them up

Republican lawmaker accuses Democrats of wanting a ‘federal takeover’ of election system

Arpan Rai
Wednesday 19 October 2022 15:30 BST
Marco Rubio says voting drop boxes are dangerous because people may blow them up

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has come under fire for suggesting voting drop boxes are dangerous because they can be blown up and render the votes ineffective.

The Republican lawmaker made the comments in a debate against his midterm rival and House counterpart, Rep Val Demings, in Florida’s senate debate.

“That’s a method of voting that doesn’t advantage one group or another. There’s danger involved in drop boxes. People need to think about it. OK, imagine someone decides, ‘Oh there’s a drop box I’m just going to put some explosive in it and blow it up and burn all of those ballots and now those votes don’t count at all’,” Mr Rubio said.

He went on: “There are two things with elections that are very important. Number one, the counting has to be accurate. The votes have to be counted accurately but the other is, there has to be public confidence. The public has to believe that elections were fair and balanced.”

Mr Rubio added that he has “always been in favour of” fair and balanced elections and accused Democrats of a “federal takeover”.

“The elections, I do not want a federal takeover of our election system. I oppose it,” he said, summing up his argument.

In response, the three-term Democratic congresswoman rubbished the claims by Mr Rubio.

“That’s nonsense, that we want a federal takeover. We passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act in the House of Representatives because of the unbelievable voter suppression efforts that were going on by the senator and his party,” Ms Demings retorted.

Social media users did not take kindly to the accusations of unfair elections practices on Democrats.

“The only reason so many people don’t have confidence in our election process is because are were gullible enough to believe Trump’s Big Lie, not because there’s anything wrong with our electoral system. The solution is for Trump and his cultists to stop lying about the election,” said author Steve Metz.

“Yeah imagine if there were a bunch of riled up, anti-democratic lunatics who decided to use violence to influence elections,” said journalist Jordan Zakarin.

Both the lawmakers spoke about abortion rights, guns and immigration in the high-voltage senate debate, where Mr Rubio was questioned about his earlier remarks on opposing exceptions for rape and incest.

In a dramatic back-and-forth on voting rights, he defended having to present an identification card, which many Democrats say makes it harder for students and people of colour to vote.

But Ms Demings, a former police chief, cornered and accused him of being a serial liar, while Mr Rubio criticised her for backing Joe Biden’s economic agenda.

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