Florida Approves the Country’s First “Election Police Force”

The measure, pushed by Ron DeSantis, is all but certain to have chilling effect on voter turnout.

Paul Hennessy/ZUMA

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The false narrative of rampant voter fraud defouling US elections has been around for decades. But fueled in large part by Donald Trump’s persistent lies about the 2020 presidential election, which he lost, the myth of voter fraud appears to continually be reaching an apotheosis, only to pass it.

Now, enter another dystopian turn: Election cops. The country’s first election police force is poised to make its debut in Governor Ron DeSantis’ Florida.

The state’s GOP-controlled legislature on Wednesday approved a bill that includes a measure to create the “Office of Election Crimes and Security,” which will hire election investigators that aren’t sworn officers of the law, in order to crack down on voter fraud at the ballot box. According to CNN, the squad will have the power to launch independent investigations “into allegations of election law violations or election irregularities in this state.” Voting organizations found in violation of Florida’s already stringent election laws will have their fine caps increased from $1,000 to a staggering $50,000.

Critics say the plan is a recipe for disaster that’s all but certain to intimidate voters and suppress the vote. But it’s also a curious one for DeSantis, considering his own praise for how the 2020 election was conducted. “The way Florida did it, I think inspires confidence, I think that’s how elections should be run,” the Florida Republican had said at the time. Only three instances of voter fraud were identified in the state—and two of the cases involved registered Republicans.

But as my colleague Ari Berman has reported, the exceedingly low instances of voter fraud haven’t stopped the GOP, let alone DeSantis, from adopting extreme voting measures around the country. Thanks to DeSantis, who is widely expected to run for president, we can now add an election police force to the list.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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