Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed a new task force to investigate election fraud in a Nov. 3 press conference in West Palm Beach, exacerbating the controversy surrounding the election. He will also make ballot harvesting a third-degree felony and increase penalties for mistakes when mail-in voting.
The funds that will be used to form this task force should instead be reallocated to current task forces to help reduce existing crime. This would be a more effective way of dividing funds instead of fabricating issues with regard to election voting.
The integrity of the 2020 election has been questioned in multiple states, including Florida, where Republican legislators have been drastically restricting voting rights.
DeSantis passed SB 90 on May 6. The bill contains restrictive changes such as requiring voters to request ballots, stricter voter ID requirements and installing ballot request limits. This makes voting harder for disadvantaged people.
Despite DeSantis’ fuss about election integrity, there have only been 30 instances of voter fraud in Florida since 2000, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database. This accounts for 0.000076% of the ballots cast.
This police force is estimated to cost around $6 million and the efforts of 60 employees in its first year alone, according to a Politico report. It’s not financially sensible to waste money on a cause that is not backed by evidence whatsoever.
Legislators should focus on crimes that actually impact their constituents.
Florida saw a 14.7% increase in homicides in 2020, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s annual crime report. This is clearly a pressing issue, and the $6 million in taxpayer dollars would be better spent saving lives. Instead, DeSantis is choosing to focus on the political non-issue of election voting.
This money could go toward task forces focusing on violent crimes.
During and after the 2020 election, the question of election security was used to divide voters. All the investigations into the matter have yielded nothing. Creating the task force is a desperate attempt by DeSantis to further divide Republicans and Democrats that’ll make mail-in voting rules much more stringent and harder to navigate.
The creation of an election fraud task force should not be included in the 2022 legislative session. Funds should be divided and dispersed to current task forces to help reduce crime that affects Floridians.