In the wake of the controversy that followed the 2020 presidential race, election integrity and security have become major issues for many voters.
With that in mind, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently proposed the creation of a special law enforcement unit dedicated to investigating alleged election integrity issues, and arresting and prosecuting those who commit voter fraud, Breitbart reports.
The proposal was announced as part of the governor’s State of the State address — and quite predictably, it drew immediate and furious backlash from Democrats and many in the mainstream media.
“Their vote will count”
During his speech last week ahead of the start of Florida’s 60-day legislative session, Gov. DeSantis brought up election reform proposals currently being negotiated in Congress.
“It is Orwellian doublespeak to invoke the concept of ‘Voting rights’ to mean ballot harvesting, prohibiting voter ID and taxpayer funding of elections. Those are political concepts that erode the integrity of our elections,” the governor said.
“Ballot harvesting has no place in Florida and we need to increase the penalties for those who do it,” he added. “We also need to ensure that supervisors clean the voter rolls, that only citizens are registered to vote, and that mail ballots only go to those who actually request them before each individual election.”
DeSantis went on: “To ensure that elections are conducted in accordance with the rule of law, I have proposed an election integrity unit whose sole focus will be the enforcement of Florida’s election laws. This will facilitate the faithful enforcement of election laws and will provide Floridians with the confidence that their vote will count.”
Democrats, media lash out
The Washington Post was quick to report on the proposal from DeSantis from a negative angle, publishing an article with several quotes from Democratic lawmakers in Florida — and so-called election experts — who fiercely criticized the idea, saying the special unit is unnecessary due to minimal evidence of actual fraud.
Dubbed the Office of Election Crimes and Security, the unit would be funded with nearly $6 million, if approved by the legislature, and staffed with 52 agents tasked to “investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation” of the state’s election laws, according to Breitbart.
It remains unclear exactly how much support there is for DeSantis’ proposal among the GOP-controlled state legislature. Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls was non-committal in a statement to the Post, saying only, “We’re going to look at it, we’ll evaluate it and see what happens.”
But other GOP members of the state House have already said they’re on board. That includes state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R), who told Breitbart that “having a mechanism to enforce Florida law, which prohibits illegal aliens from voting and those who are not Florida residents, is commonsense.”
“Republicans win elections when only legal, chain of custody votes are counted,” Sabatini said.