Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill to set up a committee that possesses the ability to investigate election-related crimes and take appropriate action against these crimes.
This bill was signed into law on Monday by the governor.
Senate Bill 524 encompasses changes that aspire to not only prevent any kind of fraud and tampering with votes but also to improve the transparency of the whole voting process.
About the Senate Bill 524
The Office of elections crime and security has called for 25 people who would look into any irregularity or illegality during the voting process. A request for 45 investigators was originally made by DeSantis.
The system of ranked-choice was vetoed as in this system the voters cast their votes according to their ballots. Thus a stop was put to the ranked-choice voting system not only throughout all parts of the state but also in counties and cities.
The Office of election crime and security ensures that malpractices like ballot harvesting are prevented as the penalties for such negligence have been made more stringent. Ballot harvesting is the process in which political party workers collect the votes of absentee voters from their respective homes and drop them at a polling place, dropbox or the election office, therefore, increasing their votes considerably.
The objective of this committee is to look into all the activities relating to the voting processes and make adjustments to the procedures so no fraudulent acts take place.
Generally, the voters’ list is evaluated and corrected every other year but election superintendents are now required to clean the voters’ list annually.
Modifying the voters’ rolls will involve the process of checking all the details of the voters, for example checking the number of voters who haven’t been voting, getting updates on voters whose address might have changed, removing the deceased people from the list and adding the new voters to the list. This makes the election process that much smoother for the election managers.
The origin of the Senate Bill 524
“I don’t think there’s any other place in the country where you should have more confidence that your vote counts than in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said at a bill signing event at Rookie Sports Bar & Grill in Spring Hill.
The initiative to form a committee to look into election-related crimes originates from the accusations that former President Donald Trump who is the face of the Republican party made against President Joe Biden when he failed to win the 2020 elections. The Former President claimed that swindling of votes had taken place in many states, though no evidence of any kind was found to prove that the current President Joe Biden resorted to any kind of unethical practices to win the 2020 elections.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is running for re-election as the Governor of Florida. Since the Bill has already been signed into law, DeSantis’s own re-election which will be held in November will be governed by the new provisions of the bill.
According to these provisions, Pinellas County can now allow their state Representative Chris Latvala R-Clearwater to contest in the current election cycle instead of in 2024 for a seat on the County Commission.
“I will be running for the Pinellas County Commission in 2022,” Latvala said in a text message. “If these arrogant liberal want to sue our great Governor or Legislature to overturn the elections bill, bring it on. It will not be the first time they have wasted our tax dollars. They will lose in the courtroom and then at the ballot box.”
The Senate Bill 524 faces backlash
There were groups that were in favour of obtaining expanded access to the ballot, these groups were against the bills throughout the process of getting it signed and into law. The new provisions were not only criticized by these groups but they also tried to find faults in these new policies.
One such person who attacked the agenda of the Office of election crime and security and termed their provisions and policies unnecessary was Cecile Scoon. She is the President of Women voters of Florida.
“Our biggest issue is, it’s making voting more burdensome for no good reason. Everyone has stated on the record we have almost no fraud,” Scoon said. These problems do not exist. We want to spend millions of dollars on problems that do not exist.”
The Republican Party of Florida has come to find itself under scrutiny for election fraud misconduct.
What kind of changes is the Senate Bill 524 expected to bring?
Party canvassers are the party workers who try to persuade people into voting for someone else or lending their support to a party they don’t want to support. The Party canvassers of the Republican Party of Florida have been accused of the outrageous behaviour of changing the enrollment of over 100 voters without their permission.
It was alleged that a former GOP state senator paid an independent candidate to contest in the Senate District 37 race as a spoiler candidate. These are rumours which have yet to be proved. The Senate District 37 race was won by Republican Ileana Garcia. She won by 32 votes.
The proponent said that the bill which was signed by DeSantis addresses some of these actions.
The newer stricter provision has got the financial penalty increased to $1,000 per violation. This new policy is for the actors who try to convert the voters’ registration forms.
Some Democratic councilmen tried to propose some amendments to the bill with the idea to fend off another “ghost candidate” if it were to happen again, similar to what took place in the Senate District 37’s race in 2020.
The proposed amendments from the Democratic lawmakers further went on to be rejected by the legislators.
“That wasn’t the purview of the bill, “Palm Coast Republican and sponsor of the elections law, told the Orlando Sentinel. “This bill was to deal with election fraud, not candidacy fraud.”
Judge Mark Waller who was appointed by former President Barack Obama said that furthermore before passing any restrictions or laws around voting the approval of the court is a must.
Judge Walker nullified many parts of the law passed in the year 2021.
“We are going to win on appeal,” DeSantis was very positive that the voting provisions he signed into law will be accepted by the judges.