Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been at the forefront of proactive initiatives in protecting the integrity of the voting system in his state.
He has made addressing voting fraud a priority since the 2020 elections. In that election, Trump carried Florida as he did in 2016, but despite the Republican party’s success in those elections, DeSantis is committed to reform in the Florida election process to ensure election integrity across party lines in the future.
Monday, DeSantis signed his second bill into law in the last two years that address election integrity in Florida and takes action against voting fraud.
Last year, DeSantis signed a bill (SB90) into law creating a more tightly controlled voting system in the state of Florida, but the law was recently overruled by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker overturned a provision of the law limiting when voters could use a dropbox to submit their ballots, as well as along with a section prohibiting anyone from engaging with people who were waiting to vote. Walker gave as a reason that the section, ” discourages groups who give food, water, and other forms of encouragement to voters,” citing a reason that was counter to one of the issues being addressed in the bill.
Democrats have maintained that more organization, regulations, and policing of the casting of ballots is discriminatory, and therefore are enabling the voting fraud DeSantis is trying to address.
The State of Florida is currently appealing Walker’s decision.
Not to be deterred by political roadblocks, the Governor said Monday:
“Florida took action this legislative session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections,” said Gov. DeSantis. “Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity. Elections should be free and fair, and these changes will ensure this continues to be the case in the Sunshine State.”
Continuing his fight to regulate fair voting in Florida, DeSantis on Monday signed a new bill (SB 524) which was approved by the House and Senate, creating a new security office to investigate claims of voter fraud as well as increase penalties on those who violate state election laws.
“The bill I’m going to sign today really builds on the success that we had last year. I think some of these things are really going to be significant,” DeSantis said, at a bill signing event held at a local business in Spring Hill.
“In Florida, we make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat,” said Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, the state’s top elections official. “And we want to ensure that every Floridian can have confidence that in Florida, we do elections right.”
DeSantis continued to highlight that measure’s provisions on Monday, assuring his supporters at the latest bill-signing that, “We’re going to win on appeal,” The Tallahassee Democrat reported.
changes in the new bill include the addition of the Office of Election Crimes and Security. This will be a dedicated office to investigate all election crimes in Florida. Third-party voter registration groups also could face fines that may climb to as much as $50,000 — up from a current $1,000 penalty — for failing to submit voter registration application forms collected to elections officials within a required two weeks.
In an effort to curb “ballot harvesting,” the law also makes it a third-degree felony to collect and submit more than two vote-by-mail ballots on behalf of others — upping the penalty from a misdemeanor.
Election officials will now be required to update voter roll lists more frequently, making these an annual task, while the law is providing for using a Florida driver’s license number, a Florida identification card number, asocial security number, or any part thereof to confirm the identity of each elector returning a vote-by-mail ballot.
Fl.gov goes into detail:
“The proposal strikes a reasonable balance for families and those in elder care facilities while simultaneously banning ballot harvesting by political operatives. Under this law a person may not handle more than two ballots other than those of immediate family members. There is an exemption for ballots collected during supervised voting at assisted living facilities and nursing homes to make sure no undue burden is caused for Florida’s most vulnerable.”
“Finally, the bill will prohibit private money from administering elections by prohibiting our Election Supervisors from accepting donations or grants to fund any aspect of election administration or operations,” fl.gov states.
“We want to be in a situation where everyone knows the rule…know that you can go vote in person, you can vote absentee, but what you can’t do is collect a bunch of ballots and dump them somewhere,” DeSantis said, as reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.
DeSantis acknowledged legislative leaders’ roles in the passing of the bill addressing voting integrity, “I’d like to thank our legislative leaders on this issue, Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Senator Dennis Baxley, and Representative Blaise Ingoglia.”
Read more about the new law here: https://t.e2ma.net/click/s7jdfi/kdr0vse/488eiab