Efforts by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to create a special police force to oversee elections have been panned as a tool to intimidate voters.
"The proposed Office of Election Crimes and Security would be part of the Department of State, which answers to the governor," The Washington Post reported Tuesday. "DeSantis is asking the GOP-controlled legislature to allocate nearly $6 million to hire 52 people to 'investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation' of election laws. They would be stationed at unspecified 'field offices throughout the state' and act on tips from 'government officials or any other person.'”
Jonathan Diaz, a voting rights lawyer at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, questioned the need for such a police force.
“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,” said Jonathan Diaz, a voting rights lawyer at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center. “My number one concern is that this is going to be used as a tool to harass or intimidate civic-engagement organizations and voters.”
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren argued the DeSantis plan was a joke.
“The bottom line is there is no widespread election fraud in Florida,” Warren said. “It’s a microscopic amount. Elections today are the most secure that they have ever been. This is not a serious policy proposal. This is a door prize for a QAnon pep rally.”
In 2020, only 75 complaints of election fraud were referred to law enforcement or prosecutors in Florida.
Read the full report.