With midterm elections looming in November, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is already taking proactive measures to ensure the highest degree of electoral integrity.
On Monday, the Florida governor signed legislation that will enable the creation of a police force dedicated exclusively to pursuing various election crimes, including voter fraud. Electoral integrity has become a top priority for the Republican Party following several questions after the 2020 presidential election.
DeSantis himself is up for re-election in November, and he is said to be contemplating a potential 2024 run for the presidency. Voting integrity comprises a central focus of DeSantis’s concerns, and he has openly advocated the creation of a police unit specific to electoral integrity to counteract efforts to defraud the will of voters.
DeSantis’s creation of a police task force reflects the general sentiment of Republicans throughout the nation, many of whom have advocated the importance of restoring public confidence in democratically run elections.
In addition, DeSantis also intends to closely monitor mail-in ballots, early voting procedures, and other processes that were employed en masse in 2020, ostensibly due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.
Under the new law, the Florida Department of State is able to carefully review different fraud allegations, as well as conduct initial investigations into cases of potential electoral fraud. In addition, DeSantis will also be tasked with appointing a group of specialized officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which would bear responsibility for enforcing violations of election law.
The new law will also enhance the penalties for situations in which a third party collects completed ballots, a process known as ballot harvesting, specifically by making the practice a felony.
Democrats have blasted the bill for various reasons, with vague allegations that loosely pertain to Trump and voter suppression. Similar attacks on other electoral integrity bills have unfolded across other conservative states.