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DeSantis Proposes ‘Special Police’ to Oversee Elections

DeSantis Proposes ‘Special Police’ to Oversee Elections

Speaking to state legislators as they opened their annual 60-day session last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) introduced a first-of-its-kind proposal to improve election security: a special police force tasked with monitoring elections.

The so-called Office of Election Crimes and Security would “investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation” of voter laws, explained DeSantis, who has asked lawmakers to provide nearly $6 million to fund the new agency in addition to $1.1 million to establish 8 new positions in other departments to address election crimes. DeSantis has been hesitant to call on local election officials and prosecutors to investigate election crimes as many of these individuals lack the expertise or the desire to do so.  

The Office of Election Crimes and Security would consist of 52 individuals (including 20 sworn law enforcement officers) stationed at “field offices” throughout the state of Florida. Members of the agency would act on “tips” from government officials as well as civilians.

The governor’s proposal also includes a ban on ranked voting, a new deadline for determining voter eligibility, and new rules for the reporting of felony convictions to election supervisors.

“To ensure that elections are conducted in accordance with the rule of law, I propose an election integrity unit whose sole focus will be the enforcement of Florida’s election laws,” DeSantis told lawmakers. “This will facilitate the faithful enforcement of election laws and will provide Floridians with the confidence that their vote will matter.”

The proposal was met with mixed reviews from Republicans and with firm opposition from Democrats, with the latter group seeking to ease voter restrictions across the board.

“There’s a reason that there’s no office of this size with this kind of unlimited investigative authority in any other state in the country, and it’s because election crimes and voter fraud are just not a problem of that magnitude,” argues voting rights lawyer Jonathan Diaz. “My number one concern is that this is going to be used as a tool to harass or intimidate civic-engagement organizations and voters.”

Others fear partisan and executive overreach from Governor DeSantis, given the fact that the special police force would report directly to him and he will be running for reelection later this year.

“It seems as if this is going to focus on a lot of grassroots organizations that are out there trying to get people registered to vote, as well as people out there doing petition drives,” warned Joe Scott, Supervisor of Elections in Broward County. “I think this is going to lead to people being intimidated if they’re civically involved. I don’t want people to be scared away from doing those kinds of things.”

Governor DeSantis, widely seen as a possible candidate in the 2024 presidential election, has made election security his focus following the contentious 2020 election some believe was “stolen” from Donald Trump.

DeSantis signed a bill last year designed to curb some of the allowances offered to voters during the pandemic regarding absentee voting, mail-in voting, and the use of ballot drop boxes. That law has been challenged by voting rights advocates who view it as disadvantageous to disabled, elderly, and minority voters. A trial is scheduled to begin later this month.

 To date, no state legislators have agreed to sponsor the governor’s proposal for a special police force to oversee elections and the House Public Integrity & Election Committee has yet to set a hearing to discuss the proposal.

“We’re going to look at it, we’ll evaluate it and see what happens,” said House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R).

Governor DeSantis is also pressuring state legislators to up the penalty for violating new rules regarding mail-in ballots and establish a 100-day deadline for local officials to remove deceased individuals from voter rolls. In the meantime, some Republicans continue to demand a “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election in Florida despite Trump’s victory over Biden.

Florida resident and Trump ally Roger Stone has even threatened to run against DeSantis in this year’s election as a libertarian candidate if he fails to order an audit and hand recount of the 2020 election.

Authors Note: DeSantis has good intentions here, but an agency of this kind could be easily corrupted. The devil’s in the details.

Sources:

Florida governor proposes special police agency to monitor elections

DeSantis calls for new Florida police force to go after election crimes

Florida governor announces plans for election police force

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6 Comments

  1. George herman

    Great idea No more cheating or else.

  2. DONNA MARIE KELLEY

    At least DeSantis is trying to do something about bidens corrupt voting, I don’t hear of anyone else trying to save our elections from the corrupt
    democrats who will do anything to stay in power. democrats want to allow all these illegals to vote, which is not right. Only american citizens should be allowed to vote with an ID VOTER CARD. iF WE DON’T GET RID OF THESE CORRUPT DEMOCRATS WE WILL HAVE NO COUNTRY THAT WE CALL AMERICA. THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO WOULD VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT ARE THE ONES WHO ENJOY BEING TOLD HOW TO THINK AND LIVE, AND OF COURSE GETTING ALL THE FREEBIES THEY CAN GET THEIR HANDS ON WHILE THEY SIT ON THEIR LAZY ASSES AND ALLOW THE HARD WORKING HONEST PEOPLE PAY FOR THEM TO BE NO GOOD FREE LOADERS. WAKE UP AMERICA AND PUT A STOP TO IT.

  3. DONNA MARIE KELLEY

    YOU DIDN’T WANT TO PUBLISH MY COMMENT WELL THEN YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE ON MY PAGE. INTO THE SPAM FOLDER YOU WILL GO

  4. R. HAMILTON

    Such an organization, at the state level, with oversight by multiple branches (not just the executive), if it also specifically included investigating allegations of “voter suppression” (NOT the same thing as maximally easy voting which may not be possible to do with reasonable security), and had as much openness as possible, might allay some of the concerns of the SINCERE objectors to it. The non-sincere objectors just want the system rigged for them, so their opinion is irrelevant, save that some counter-arguments need to exist for the sake of the undecided.

    The dichotomy between secure elections and (legitimately) inclusive elections is FALSE; a reasonable balance of both can be achieved. Indeed, an insecure election dilutes legitimate votes, INCLUDING those of minorities etc.

  5. frank stetson

    I heard that the first meeting of the team fell into disarray as they couldn’t decide between the brown shirts OR the white-hooded gowns as proper Office of Election Crimes and Security Police attire at the polls. But 100% on guns, there’s got to be guns.

  6. bob

    Prior to the 2020 election , you didn’t hear nothing about people not being able to get to the polls . The people that wanted to vote, voted. BUT now ,,,, the GESTOPO of the democratic party and all their little NAZIS have seen how easy it is to CHEAT and commit FRAUD with all the drop boxes and MASSIVE ballot mailouts , that is why they are pushing to keep it that way . There is no reason anyone should be against voter I.D. , it would prevent alot of the CHEATING . Also , everyone should be against ILLEGAL ALIENS having ANY right to vote in OUR country , city , state or federal. ILLEGAL ALIENS voting is just a tactic by the GESTOPO to get more votes.

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