Ron DeSantis Presents: ELECTIONS POLICE
It's been a busy spring for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. So many LGBTQ kids to kick, so little time! And yet he got it all in, managing to ratfuck Black voters, destroying tenure in case those pesky college professors want to exercise their First Amendment right to testify against his administration, censoring math textbooks for mentioning Maya Angelou, and saddling taxpayers with a billion dollars in bond debt and an annual $163 million hole in their budget — a small price to pay to stick it to "woke Disney."
But the indefatigable DeSantis wasn't done! Yesterday he signed a bill to ratfuck elections even more. Because it was just too easy for Floridians to vote before, so the state needed to make it harder to cast a ballot and also staff up a special police force of election security storm troopers to catch all the non-existent vote fraudsters.
As CNN points out, the Florida Department of State received just 262 fraud complaints in 2020, and of those only 75 were referred to law enforcement for further investigation. With almost 11 million ballots cast, that means a whopping 0.0000068 percent of votes were potentially hinky. So naturally Ol' Ron is standing up an Office of Election Crimes and Security within the Department of State with 25 staffers to deal with this non-emergency, at a cost of $3.7 million.
Implying without evidence that local authorities might lack the experience to prosecute fraud, Desantis inked the bill into law yesterday.
"We just want to make sure whatever laws are on the books that those laws are enforced," DeSantis said at the signing event at Rookies Sports Bar & Grill (obviously).
"The more resources we have to attack the bad people, the bad actors who are committing fraud, the better for the state of Florida," the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Daniel Perez, said during floor debate last Tuesday night. "The more the merrier."
With this joyous if nebulous remit, Senate Bill 524 also bans ranked choice voting statewide, in case municipalities get any funny ideas; bans "ballot harvesting," capping the number of senior citizens you can help with their ballots at two; forces election officials to purge their voter rolls annually, rather than every other year; blocks local election officials from receiving grants to upgrade equipment or register voters, AKA bans "Zuckerbucks," in the words of DeSantis; and imposes draconian penalties on voter registration groups that mess up their paperwork.
The law does not address the issue of so-called ghost candidates with similar names to real, viable candidates, who are paid to appear on the ballot to sow confusion and siphon off votes. Because unlike vote fraud, that is a problem which actually exists, and DeSantis and his goons are not in the business of actually fixing shit that's broken.
Surely this is all fine, and the shock troops controlled by the governor will never be used to harass poor and minority voters in Democratic districts. Nothing to see here, move along.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.