Ron DeSantis unveils plan to establish a statewide election police force
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has unveiled a propospal to develop a statewide law enforcement agency to investigate election-related crimes.
On Wednesday, November 3, the Republican governor held a news conference where he discussed election integrity as he echoed many of former President Donald Trump's claims about voter fraud — despite having no actual evidence to reference. DeSantis, who is preparing for his re-election campaign next year, released a statement detailing the purpose of his proposed legislation.
"We are excited to say that next legislative session we are proposing another package of election integrity reforms that will make Florida the number one state for elections," DeSantis said. "I am excited that with this legislation, our state will be able to enforce election violations, combat voter fraud and make sure violators are held accountable. If potential violators know they will be held accountable, they will be much less likely to engage in improper conduct in the first place."
According to DeSantis' his latest piece of legislation will:
- 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, which the governor's offices said was to recognize 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.
During his recent news conference, DeSantis spoke to a crowd of his supporters were he discussed actions voters could take under the proposed legislation if they witness any form of voter fraud.
"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," DeSantis said at his news conference. "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."
The proposed piece of legislation will be discussed in the state's upcoming 2022 Legislative Session, which is scheduled for January of next year.
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