Gov. DeSantis announces plans for statewide agency to investigate election crimes

On Wednesday, GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his plans to form a statewide agency to investigate election crimes. The measure is part of a group of legislation regarding voting procedures to be considered at next year’s legislative session.

DeSantis echoed claims of voter fraud in his news conference during which he announced the new law enforcement agency. He called on the legislature to take other steps to secure elections including to “establish an Office of Election Crimes and Security within the Department of State to investigate election crimes and fraud; Elevate the crime of ballot harvesting to a third-degree felony, recognizing that this offense is a serious attack on democracy; Require timelines for supervisors of elections to clean the voter rolls of ineligible voters; and Prohibit unsecure, haphazard drop box locations in Florida.” 

At his conference, DeSantis commented, “There’ll be people, if you see someone ballot harvesting, you know, what do you do? If you call into the election office, a lot of times they don’t do anything.”

He continued, “If you know that, there’s, you know, in Florida, it’s Constitutionally mandated, only citizens are allowed to vote in Florida, and yet you see examples of people, they’ll even check they’re not citizens, and they’ll still be given ballots.

DeSantis was asked for examples of voter fraud in the state, to which his press secretary Christina Pushaw responded in an emailed statement that the measure is a part of “proactive steps to correct any identified vulnerabilities in Florida’s election administration before those vulnerabilities can be exploited to subvert our democratic institutions.”

She went on to say, “Merely waiting for bad actors to exploit known vulnerabilities in an election, adnt hen attempting to address voter fraud or electoral violations after the fact, is not an effective strategy for a state government to assure the public that every legal vote will count in accordance with the law.” 




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