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Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill to Strengthen Florida’s Election Integrity

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 524, Election Administration, to ensure that Florida continues to have secure and accurate elections. This legislation will strengthen election security measures by requiring voter rolls to be annually reviewed and updated, strengthening ID requirements, establishing the Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election law violations, and increasing penalties for violations of election laws. To read more about the bill, click here.

“Twenty years ago, nobody thought Florida was a prime example of how to conduct elections, but we have become a national leader by running the most secure elections in the country,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We need to do more to ensure our elections remain secure. We have ended ballot harvesting, stopped drop boxes and the mass mailing of ballots, and banned Zuckerbucks, and this bill will give us more resources to make sure bad actors are held accountable.” 

“Governor DeSantis has made elections integrity a top priority from the very beginning of his administration, taking steps to ensure we invested in our elections systems, strengthened our cyber defenses, modernized equipment, updated voter rolls, and improved transparency, and we’ve seen results,” said Florida Secretary of State, Laurel M. Lee. “As Florida’s Chief Elections Official, I share Governor DeSantis’ strong commitment to elections integrity. We want to ensure that every Floridian can have confidence that in Florida, we do elections right.”

“Florida leads the nation in free and fair elections because Governor DeSantis and the Legislature have taken a proactive approach to address any issues,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “Voter confidence in the integrity of our elections is essential to maintaining a democratic form of government, and I am grateful to Governor DeSantis for making election integrity in this state a focus of his administration. When people and organizations interfere with Florida elections, there are consequences.”

“I am proud to have worked with Governor DeSantis and his team to deliver a transformational elections reform bill,” said Senator Travis Hutson. “This law puts Florida at the forefront of election security and transparency.”

“In 2020, Florida set the example of a well-run election for the rest of the nation to see,” said Representative Daniel Perez. “SB 524 is an example of our commitment to always do better and continue to be the best state in the nation for secure and accurate election results.” 

SB 524 increases the penalty for ballot harvesting from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and up to five years of probation.

The bill also establishes the Office of Election Crimes and Security within the Department of State. Before now, there was not a dedicated office to investigate all election crimes in Florida. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement received positions and resources in this year’s budget to support the criminal investigation of election crimes in partnership with the Office of Election Crimes and Security.

The bill requires voter list maintenance to be conducted annually by supervisors of elections in order to combat the possibility of fraudulent voting.

Finally, the bill requires the Department of State to recommend a plan on how to strengthen ID requirements for mail-in ballots. The Department of State must submit a report on the plan and draft legislation for any statutory changes needed to implement the plan by February 1, 2023. The plan will include how to prescribe the use of a Florida driver license number, Florida identification card number, social security number, or any part thereof to confirm the identity of each elector returning a vote-by-mail-ballot. 

  • So glad our governor and legislature are getting ahead of this, as the 2022 and 2024 elections will probably include desperate attempts by the left to take advantage of the many crises of the last couple years in order to hold on to what power they have currently.
    Election integrity is crucial to keeping our country from being destroyed from within.

    • The Left?! Excuse me….but who attempted to steal an election last year? Over the past couple of years the number of Republicans caught involved in fraudulent voting activity has far exceed Democrats caught. Please get your facts straight. Bottom line is that voter fraud is an issue used by the Right to stir up voters. Voter fraud happens but the numbers are so small that it doesn’t affect elections. A study done from 2010 to 2014 of nearly 1 billion votes found actual fraud in 31 of them. It’s simply not a problem.

  • Critical thinker, you are hilarious! A perfect fit for the delusional liberals amongst us!

    • I’m no liberal. I’m a conservative and a former Republican. What I am not, however, is someone who thinks the current Republican Party – or those like Trump and Desantis – are good for America. There are some whackos on the Left for sure but those on the Right have stolen the show. It’s all about scare tactics and culture wars which is unfortunate because there’s no focus on solving real problems. Laws now to ban gay speech to kids in kindergarten through third grade. Give me a break. That wasn’t a problem. Just like voter fraud isn’t a problem. It’s all designed to get you to react emotionally and vote for them. Be a critical thinker and not a follower. Use what’s between your ears. Not all Republicans are good. Not all Democrats are bad.

      • The fact that you believe that you believe the recent law was “to ban gay speech to kids in kindergarten through third grade” tells me all I need to form an opinion about the validity of your other opinions.

        • The bill is vague in some areas but the intent is to not only prohibit ‘instruction’ but to also prohibit discussion. See the many interviews done with Florida House and Senate Republicans if you need evidence of that. Many have flat-out said it should ban discussion.

          • …and that’s not all. Remember a time when Republicans – nearly all Conservatives – believed government should stay out of the matter of private businesses?! Disney was punished for practicing free speech! That should concern everyone! If a Democratic governor and Democratically controlled Congress passed a law hurting a company that was critical of something they did you would be on fire preaching about government overreach. But since there’s an ‘R’ after their name I bet they get a pass. You see, I think it’s wrong no matter which Party does it.

  • Critical Thinker is spot on. Another way voter intent is hobbled by the state is its perpetuation of a runoff system where a candidate can move to the general election ballot with less than a majority in their primary. Case in point is Rep. Kat Cammack. Alachua county is in a reliable Republican district. Whoever wins the Republican primary is the heir apparent, end of story. Cammack went to the US House with a mandate of about 25% of the voters who bothered to show up in the Republican primary–meaning 75% voted against her. How democratic is this? Simple, it’s not but, what, no phony outrage, no gnashing of teeth? And to underscore such a miscarriage, this last session of the legislature, with DeSantis’ support, passed a superfluous and meaningless law forbidding instant runoffs–superfluous and meaningless in that to have instant runoffs, even on the local level, the Fla Constitution would have to be amended first.

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