WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, March 13, Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin (R) announced the creation of an Election Integrity Unit designed to investigate election law violations. Griffin’s press release named a director to the new unit “to ensure that all credible leads are investigated” and plugged the state’s existing hotline where individuals can lodge voter fraud complaints.
In Arkansas, lawmakers in the Legislature have introduced House Bill 1513, which would codify the establishment of an Election Integrity Unit within the attorney general’s office. Additionally, H.B. 1513 would create a database to track alleged violations and require the State Board of Election Commissioners to forward complaints to prosecutors. H.B. 1513 has seen movement in a House committee but awaits further action.
In April 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law a bill — which was introduced and passed at his request — creating a new Office of Election Crimes and Security, a special force to investigate election crimes. Just a few months later, Georgia followed suit and enacted a bill empowering the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to go after reported violations of election law. In the current legislative session, there are proposed bills in Missouri, Ohio and Texas to similarly create new election crime forces.
These dedicated units go hand in hand with other efforts to criminalize aspects of voting and election administration processes, which heighten the opportunities for well-meaning individuals to make mistakes, face penalties and serve as further evidence of “voter fraud.”