(FiveNation.com)- On Friday, voting along party lines, the Florida Senate passed a voting law package pushed by Governor Ron DeSantis that would create a police force dedicated to pursuing election fraud. The Florida House is currently considering companion legislation.
The bill creates an Office of Election Crimes and Security under the Department of State that would review election fraud allegations and conduct preliminary investigations.
Unlike current Florida law that allows the governor to appoint officers to investigate possible violations of election law, under the new legislation, the governor would be required to appoint a special group of officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who would be responsible for pursuing election law violations.
The legislation increases the penalty for ballot harvesting to a felony and also increases the fines for certain election law violations. It would also require election supervisors to conduct maintenance of their voter lists more frequently.
Florida Democrats opposed the bill, saying the measure is nothing more than an attempt to satisfy the conspiracy theorists in the Republican Party who believe the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. They argued that the legislation is unnecessary since local prosecutors are more than capable of handling voter fraud cases.
Florida Democrat Senator Lori Berman accused Republicans of being motivated by the so-called “Big Lie” which she claimed was not true.
Senator Travis Hutson, the Republican who sponsored the bill dismissed the Democrats’ objections during Friday’s debate, asking if Democrat senators were afraid of Florida’s elections “being too secure.”
Last year, Governor DeSantis signed into law a voter integrity measure that placed new rules on ballot drop boxes and required voters to include a valid identification number (driver’s license, state ID, or last 4 digits of a Social Security number) when requesting a mail-in ballot. That law is currently being challenged in court by so-called voting “rights” groups.