Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida on Wednesday announced the formation of a special state office that will exclusively handle claims of election fraud, and he warned that those with the thought of ballot box malfeasance should think twice.
The Office of Election Crimes and Security will be introduced during the upcoming state legislative session begging in January.
While Florida’s elections are known for running smoothly, DeSantis declared on Wednesday, the anniversary of the 2020 presidential election, that voter fraud will not be tolerated in the Sunshine State. Should the office be created, state election and law enforcement officials who suspect crimes at the ballot will have a specialized unit prepared to handle them immediately.
“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 while delivering remarks in West Palm Beach.
“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,” he added. “If potential violators know they will be held accountable, they will be much less likely to engage in improper conduct in the first place.”
Election integrity is a top priority in Florida, which is why I am calling on the Florida Legislature to take additional steps to safeguard our elections. pic.twitter.com/jCd3ECPYFb
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) November 3, 2021
Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee announced a website for the election crimes unit will soon launch. She also praised the effort to make Florida a trailblazer with regard to preventing election fraud.
“In Florida, we are very fortunate to have the strong leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis who, since the very beginning of his administration, has taken the lead on enhancing Florida’s election security,” Lee said. “With the launch of the Elections Integrity website, the public will have a reliable source for transparent information and resources to combat election fraud. We are committed to building voter confidence in our elections and this website will help to strengthen that confidence.”
Do you think DeSantis’ actions to combat election fraud might make people think twice before cheating?
Yes: 95% (79 Votes)
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The website will offer concerned citizens a place to report suspected instances of fraud and will also make existing claims and their status with law enforcement available to view.
DeSantis warned that punishment for playing with election integrity will be severe.
“I guarantee you this: The first person that gets caught, no one is going to want to do it again after that,” he said of his proposal, according to Just the News.
The governor said he wants to see ballot drop boxes completely phased out while railing against ballot harvesting, which is common in states such as California.
“If someone’s ballot harvesting, you report it to these people and this is their sole job,” DeSantis said, warning that without a specialized election fraud unit in Florida, some reports of fraud or suspected fraud are investigated too late.
“Some of these counties, some of them will do the cases but that’s not their expertise. They got all these other crimes that they have to deal with. So by the time it happens, the election’s already over,” the governor added.
The emergence of the coronavirus last year of course saw Democrats in states from Pennsylvania to Nevada quickly pivot to sending out massive amounts of insecure ballots through the mail — despite the protests of Republicans.
The manner in which the 2020 election was handled in numerous battleground states will forever leave the results of that race in doubt for millions of Americans. Middle-of-the-night ballot dumps and days of ballot counting tainted the process, which was a predictable outcome.
Under DeSantis’ leadership, it appears Floridians won’t have to wonder if their votes will be counted, or if elections are free of as little human error or malign influence as possible.
Each instance of fraud or attempted fraud makes a mockery of the democratic process. The governor isn’t going to wait to act. He’s ready to direct lawmakers to take a proactive approach to ensuring election integrity is preserved in Florida long after he leaves office.