Florida Governor Proposes Special Force to Monitor Elections

UPDATE: On April 25, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed Senate Bill 524 into law. The Florida Legislature passed S.B. 524 last month, which, among other things, created the new Office of Election Crimes and Security requested by DeSantis.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In January, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) proposed a new Office of Election Crimes and Security, a special body that will have the power to “investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation” of election laws. DeSantis has asked lawmakers, who just began their 2022 legislative session, for $6 million towards the new office — it would be the first of its kind in the country with the unique power of arresting citizens suspected of election crimes. Florida enacted an omnibus voter suppression bill last year and now has an expansive list of new burdensome requirements on voters, unnecessary barriers that are easier for voters to unknowingly violate.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Florida, however, voting rights groups are concerned about the adverse effects of this new force. Jonathan Diaz from Campaign Legal Center told The Washington Post: “My number one concern is that this is going to be used as a tool to harass or intimidate civic-engagement organizations and voters.”