DeSantis promotes the formation of a police force to repress electoral crimes

Governor of Florida Ron DeSantisRon DeSantis, University of Florida professor, says he was prevented from testifying about the coronavirus measures Trump is leading in hypothetical 2024 Republican primaries – Stone poll says he will run for Florida governor if DeSantis does not audit MORE (R) said Wednesday that he intends to form a statewide law enforcement police force to crack down on electoral crimes, the latest effort by prominent Republicans to push for “electoral integrity” reforms since the 2020 election.

The move by DeSantis, who is running for reelection next year and is believed to be considering a presidential bid for 2024, comes after he touted Florida’s 2020 election process as fluid and rejected calls from some fellow Republicans to an audit of the results. what ex showed President TrumpDonald Trump Republicans are poised to sweep Virginia, wowing Democrats Five takeaways from a bleak night for Democrats New Jersey’s gubernatorial race is too close to call for MORE winning the state by about 3 points.

“We are creating a separate statewide office dedicated exclusively to investigating and prosecuting electoral crimes in the state of Florida. We will swear in law enforcement officers as part of this, we will have investigators, we will have the state attorney who can handle the cases, ”DeSantis said at an event that was apparently a press conference, but was packed with his supporters. .

“I guarantee this: the first person who is caught, no one is going to want to do it again after that,” he added.

In addition to establishing the state office, DeSantis also vowed to crack down on the collection and submission of mail-in ballots by one person for other voters, a practice the Republican Party has disparagingly called “ballot collection.” The DeSantis proposal would increase the penalty for such action from a misdemeanor to a felony.

The governor, who has seen his popularity rise in Florida as he leans toward electoral reforms to strengthen access to the polls and against coronavirus restrictions, said the formation of a state office is necessary to ease pressure from the polls. counties dealing with a crime list.

“Now there will be specialists who will understand what is legal and what is not legal. They will have the ability to investigate any crime related to the elections, and I think that will be something very, very important, “he said.

DeSantis ‘new effort comes months after he signed into law in May a series of voter restrictions, including restricting voters’ access to the polls for absentee voters who use most Florida counties, lo that forces voters who want to cast absentee ballots to submit new applications every election cycle rather than every four years and prohibits anyone, other than poll workers, from giving food or water to voters waiting in line within the polls. 150 feet from a polling place.

That law has sparked a host of lawsuits that are making their way through the courts.

The announcement is just the latest example of how Republicans are leveraging Trump’s call to beef up “electoral security” in light of his false claims of widespread fraud and wrongdoing in the 2020 race.

DeSantis is also likely to seek to protect his right flank in next year’s midterm elections.

While the governor in his first term has become a conservative darling, particularly for his opposition to vaccine and mask mandates, he has still resisted calls for an audit, drawing criticism from people like Roger stoneRoger Jason StoneStone Says He Will Run For Florida Governor If DeSantis Does Not Audit White House Orders For Release Of Trump Records To Jan.6 Committee Bannon Says He Discussed How To ‘Kill This Administration In The Cradle’ With Trump before January 6 PLUS, a Trump ally who suggested over the weekend that he might elect DeSantis next year in the absence of an audit.

Meanwhile, Democrats have complained about the announcement, but are powerless to stop DeSantis from his minority position in both houses of the Florida legislature.

“More attacks on the vote are coming to Florida. As in 2020, last night we had elections in our state without problems, ”State Representative Anna Eskamani (D) tweeted. “Why does our governor keep creating partisan chaos? Why can’t we focus on issues like housing, hunger, taxes, our environment, and public transportation? “

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