UPDATE: On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Gov. DeSantis signed S.B. 4B into law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Feb. 10, the Florida Senate passed Senate Bill 4B, a proposal that would enable statewide prosecutors to prosecute election crimes. The bill previously passed the state House on Feb. 8 and now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for his signature.
S.B. 4B would expand the jurisdiction of the Office of Statewide Prosecution so it can more successfully prosecute crimes investigated by the Office of Election Crimes and Security. The Office of Election Crimes and Security was created last year in response to Republican complaints about supposed voter fraud. A few months after its creation, and just five days before Florida’s primary election, the elections crime unit charged 20 individuals with voter fraud. However, many of the prosecutions brought in connection with the office have been dismissed, and in some cases local prosecutors have been reluctant to pursue charges. The bill could make prosecutions of election crimes more likely, even in cases where individuals mistakenly believed they were eligible to vote. If DeSantis signs S.B. 4B into law, it will take effect immediately.