The Governor of Florida, Ron Desantis, Signed a Bill That Created an Election Police Force!
After former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that his reelection was stolen, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday to create a police agency committed to pursuing voting fraud and other election crimes, adopting a key objective of Republicans.
The new law comes after the Republican governor made voting legislation a priority this year, pressuring the Republican-controlled statehouse to establish the enforcement unit as states reconsider their election systems in the aftermath of Trump’s false charges.
DeSantis, who is running for reelection and is generally regarded as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, has lauded the last election as “smooth” while also suggesting that tougher laws are required to prevent fraud, highlighting Trump’s lasting impact on Republican policies.
The law has been criticized as being politically driven and superfluous, with critics claiming that local prosecutors can handle election-related offenses.
DeSantis argued the need for the new law enforcement team at a bill signing ceremony in Spring Hill, Florida, on Monday, implying that existing law enforcement may not be qualified or motivated to adequately probe fraud cases.
“Some of them may be unconcerned about the election. I believe there has been a lot of speculation about how those reactions will play out. So all we want to do is make sure that whatever laws are in place are followed “he stated
Voter fraud is uncommon, occurs in isolated cases, and is easily identified. In the six states where Trump and his followers disputed his loss to President Joe Biden, an Associated Press analysis revealed less than 475 potential examples of voter fraud out of 25.5 million ballots cast.
Republicans around the country have emphasized the importance of restoring public trust in elections, and they have passed various voting legislation in the last two years focused on establishing new standards for mail and early voting, which were popular in 2020.
The statute establishes an Office of Election Crimes and Security inside the Florida Department of State to investigate and analyze allegations of election fraud. DeSantis will be forced to appoint a group of special officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate election law infractions.
The governor may appoint officials to investigate election law infractions under existing state law, but he wasn’t required to do so.
The law also makes it a crime for a third party to collect completed ballots, a practice known as ballot harvesting. It increases the sanctions for certain election law infractions and mandates more frequent voter list maintenance by election supervisors.
While DeSantis flirts with a presidential run, Democrats, the state Legislature’s minority party, have attacked the bill as a method for him to pander to Republican voters who believe the 2020 election results were rigged.
“DeSantis’ so-called election reform legislation is part of the Republican Party’s ongoing effort to undermine public confidence in the integrity of our elections. The bill is pointless and wasteful of government money “Rep. Tracie Davis, a Democrat, admitted as much.
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In late March, a federal judge struck down portions of a sweeping election law passed last year in a blistering ruling that claimed the state’s Republican-dominated government was suppressing Black voters and ordered that any attempts to write similar new laws in the next decade must first be approved by the court.
A part of last year’s statute limiting when people might use a dropbox to submit their ballot, as well as a section forbidding anybody from communicating with persons waiting to vote, was rejected by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker.
He also vetoed a part that would have imposed additional limits on voter registration groups, including one that would have required persons working on voter registration to give their identities and permanent residences to the state.
Walker’s decision is being challenged by the DeSantis administration.