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Gov. DeSantis announces election reform plans for 2022, critics once again speak out

Battle lines are already being drawn over possible election reform legislation ahead of next January’s Florida legislative session.
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 9:32 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Battle lines are already being drawn over possible election reform legislation ahead of next January’s Florida legislative session.

Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled a new proposal that he says would give Floridians more confidence in the voting process.

But critics say it will do the exact opposite.

The governor wants lawmakers to create a brand new law enforcement agency inside the Department of State with the power to go after alleged voting fraud.

“I mean that’s totally unacceptable,” Gov. DeSantis said, discussing the practice of ballot harvesting, when third party groups gather ballots and deposit them in drop boxes.

“If you see somebody brings a stack of ballots and they’re stuffing them in a drop box, you have somebody that will field those complaints,” he said.

Gov. DeSantis called for the punishment for the practice to increase, asking for the misdemeanor to become a third degree felony.

But critics, like League of Women Voters Tallahassee President Sally Butzin, are once again sharing similar complaints.

“Once again, this is a solution in search of a problem,” she said.

Butzin argues ballot harvesting and other forms of fraud are simply not a threat in Florida.

“It’s just another smokescreen to discourage people from voting and distrusting the voting process,” she said.

Meanwhile, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee announced the creation of an Election Integrity webpage Wednesday.

“Election integrity is a top priority for Governor DeSantis and me,” she said in a recorded video on the web page.

Lee said the website will be used to track investigations as they happen. But she also made clear she’s sticking by how she conducted the 2020 election.

“You can be confident that your vote was confidential, it was secure, and it was counted,” she said in the video.

Already, some Democrats in the state legislature have voiced opposition to the proposal.

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