The bill is being backed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who will ultimately have the last say if/when it reaches his desk.
Nearly all of the Republicans in the Senate supported the bill, according to AP. Legislators in the House are reportedly considering a similar bill.
DeSantis, who is a Republican, has said that he believes the election was secure in the State of Florida following former President Donald Trump’s failed attempt at reelection in 2020. But Trump won Florida, and DeSantis could be thinking about his own reelection next year or even bigger than just his state.
The Florida governor, who many believe could make a run for the presidency in 2024, discussed the need for election police last year.
Per DeSantis’ budget as outlined by CNN, the governor wanted to allocate $5.7 million to create and staff an Office of Election Crimes and Security that will investigate election crimes and fraud.
DeSantis initially proposed that the office contain 52 staff members, including 20 sworn law enforcement officers and 25 non-sworn investigators.
The staff will review and investigate election crimes and discrepancies and make suggestions for further legal action to a Statewide Prosecutor.
Florida law already allows the governor to assign officers to investigate elections violations, however he’s not required to do so. CNN reports that there is no other state in the country that has an office of election crimes and fraud or even an investigative force dedicated to the matter.
As REVOLT reported, Florida passed a sweeping elections bill —Senate Bill 90 — in 2021. DeSantis signed the bill into law in May 2021. It limits access to mail-in voting, which was at the center of Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud last year. And includes stricter voter ID requirements for voting by mail, new limits on who is allowed to pick up and return a voter’s ballot and prohibiting private funding for elections.
The law also increases partisan observation power during ballot counting and adds new restrictions for drop box use.
Florida Democrats challenged the recent bill, stating that prosecutors already have the power to challenge voter fraud and other election crimes.
“We all know that Florida had a great election so why are we doing this? The only thing I can think is that we’re motivated by the Big Lie, that the elections nationwide did not take place in a proper manner, but we know that’s not true,” said Democratic Senator Lori Berman.