TALLAHASSI, Florida – Citing unspecified examples of election fraud, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday pledged to create a law enforcement agency to investigate electoral crimes as part of a new package of voting laws.
Speaking at an event in West Palm Beach, the Republican governor announced a series of election law proposals that lawmakers should consider during next year’s legislature, including new restrictions on ballot boxes and tougher penalties for collecting ballots.
DeSantis, who is preparing for re-election and overseeing the presidential race in 2024, echoed many of the voting issues that have gained GOP backing after former President Donald Trump’s false claims that his re-election was stolen.
The governor previously praised Florida’s 2020 election as smooth, and it is widely believed among election officials and experts that there was no fraud that could have affected the results of the most recent presidential election.
However, without proof, DeSantis asked questions to the ballot box.
“There will be people if you see someone collecting ballots, do you know what you are doing? If you call the election commission, they often do nothing. If you know that, you know that in Florida it is stipulated by the Constitution, only citizens are allowed to vote in Florida, and yet you see examples of people, they will even check that they are not citizens, and they still get ballots, ”he said. to the applause.
DeSantis spoke extensively about the alleged electoral police force, but a press release from his office said the Office of Election Crimes and Security would be created “within the State Department to investigate electoral crime and fraud.”
A DeSantis spokesman said the governor is committed to actively curbing criminal activity and preventing voter fraud, but has referred questions about specific electoral law violations to the Florida attorney general or the state department. None of the agencies immediately responded to an email asking for comment.
His event on Wednesday at the hotel was listed as a press conference, but was attended by a large crowd who greeted him, criticizing coronavirus mandates, big technology, and law enforcement policies in liberal states.
Earlier this year, as part of the GOP’s nationwide campaign to tighten voting laws, DeSantis signed a bill restricting the use of ballot boxes, tightening voter ID laws, and banning so-called “ballot collection” practices. third party newsletters, among others.