Reich Chancellor Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a sweeping bill that establishes an election police force to focus on election fraud, an extremely rare problem in Florida.
In Florida, 11 million people voted in the 2020 election, and the Secretary of State’s office said it received 262 complaints of election fraud, referring 75 of those complaints to prosecution officials.
DeSantis thinks this is justification for a new law enforcement unit at a cost of $3.7 million. The law would pay for 25 new positions, including 10 officers and a staff of 15 to conduct preliminary investigations.
Historian author Ruth Ben-Ghiat writes that Ron DeSantis is turning his state into an illiberal stronghold, as extremist ideologies have become a way for ambitious politicians to grab media attention.
Ben-Ghiat sees that DeSantis has eyes for the White House, possibly as soon as 2024. In a GOP poll in June 2021, DeSantis bested Trump with a 74% to 71% approval rating.
Many 21st century authoritarian governments take the form of electoral autocracies. Voters go to the ballot box, but the outcome of the election is often what those in power need it to be. American states like Ohio have long had a version of this system. Yet Trump’s relentless attempts to discredit our national election apparatus and the success of his Big Lie showed other unscrupulous politicians, DeSantis among them, the gains to be made through making fake claims of election fraud.
DeSantis’s new election law provides a “voter fraud hotline” to seek pursuit of crimes against election workers, officials and judges.
More from Ben-Ghiat here at Substack.