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Politics Ron DeSantis' Election Police Proposal Would 'Poison Democracy': WaPo Editorial Board

00:51  23 january  2022
00:51  23 january  2022 Source:   newsweek.com

Protecting voting rights isn’t enough to save democracy

  Protecting voting rights isn’t enough to save democracy Election law expert Richard L. Hasen on the problem of election subversion — and what can be done to stop it.The rejection of the legitimacy of the 2020 election by many Republicans has fueled widespread, state-level voter suppression campaigns and a growing effort to subvert America’s election system.

In this, Mr. DeSantis ’s proposal would be similar to an anti-voting law Texas lawmakers passed recently, which would threaten election workers with criminal penalties for transgressions as mild as proactively offering voters mail-in ballot applications. In both cases, the effect is to intimidate people into Editorials represent the views of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the Editorial Board , based in the Opinions section and separate from the newsroom. Members of the Editorial Board and areas of focus: Deputy Editorial Page Editor Karen

Ron DeSantis would establish a special police force to oversee state elections — the first of its kind in the nation — and while his fellow Republicans have reacted tepidly, voting rights advocates fear that it will become law and be used to intimidate voters. Voter fraud is rare, and critics note that state attorneys and local police are already in place to investigate alleged election crimes . The state’s 67 elections supervisors are also trained to look for fraud. “The bottom line is there is no widespread election fraud in Florida,” said Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, a Democrat .

The Washington Post's editorial board slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, over his proposal to create a state agency that would police elections in the southern state.

The Washington Post's editorial board slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in a Saturday article, suggesting he was working to © Joe Raedle/Getty Images The Washington Post's editorial board slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in a Saturday article, suggesting he was working to "poison democracy." In this photo, DeSantis speaks during an event to give out bonuses to first responders held at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside on August 10, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.

DeSantis, seen by many as a potential 2024 presidential contender, proposed the creation of an Office of Election Crime and Security. He's asked lawmakers in Florida to allocate $6 million for the agency, despite scant evidence that election fraud is a significant problem in U.S. elections. Many Republicans—led by former President Donald Trump—continue to make false claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he should have spoken out 'much louder' about Trump's stay-at-home order when COVID-19 first emerged

  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he should have spoken out 'much louder' about Trump's stay-at-home order when COVID-19 first emerged "I never thought in February, early March that [COVID-19] would lead to locking down the country," DeSantis said."I never thought in February, early March that [COVID-19] would lead to locking down the country," DeSantis told the hosts of the podcast. "I just didn't. I didn't think that was on the radar.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a Trump hat for David Necker as DeSantis greets the DeSantis already signed off on several needless changes to Florida’s election laws this year, limiting the use of mail-in and drop-off ballots. Regardless of the cases’ merit, DeSantis ’ proposal would allow the Office of Election Crime and Security to “assert The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day

The proposal has concerned voting rights advocates, local election officials and Democrats , who fear the scope of this police force's new mandate could lead to voter intimidation. Establishing an office that ultimately answers to the governor with powers to investigate election crimes is unprecedented at the state level, voting rights experts say. DeSantis ' proposal represents "an escalation in the broader attempt to sow doubt in the integrity of our elections ," said Wendy Weiser, vice president of democracy at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's law school.

"But look at the state's recent electoral history, and the plan gets more puzzling. Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, won the governor's mansion in 2018 in a tight election. Donald Trump carried the state handily in 2016 and 2020. Election officials reported results efficiently, enabling networks to call these races on election night. Mr. DeSantis himself declared that the state sets 'the gold standard' in election administration," the editorial board of The Washington Post pointed out on Saturday, in a piece entitled "Ron DeSantis's election police squad would poison democracy."

"Florida obviously is not rife with the anti-GOP fraud that Mr. Trump alleges cost him 2020 presidential victories in other states," it wrote.

The editorial board connected DeSantis' proposed election policing force to Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in his favor. It warned that the Florida governor's proposed state agency could be abused to dampen voter turnout.

Ron DeSantis Welcomes You to Florida, America's New Texas | Opinion

  Ron DeSantis Welcomes You to Florida, America's New Texas | Opinion There is a sense here in Florida that this place is the future.Considering also the romantic notions that have attached to that state since films began to romanticize the Wild West over the last century, it's remarkable that Texas' once-nonpareil position in the conservative imagination has been displaced so quickly—and by a place that was long thought of as a blue-leaning swing state.

Ron DeSantis has pledged to create a law enforcement agency to investigate election crimes as part of a new package of voting laws. Speaking at an event in West Palm Beach on Wednesday, the Republican announced a series of election law proposals for lawmakers to take up during next year’s legislative session, including new restrictions on ballot drop boxes and strengthened penalties for ballot collections.

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis ’ push to create a new law enforcement arm to police Florida elections is sparking concern among voter outreach organizations and state elections officials worried about how this force could be deployed. The Republican governor has praised Florida’s election “Gov. DeSantis ’ budget request isn’t designed in any way to improve the access, safety or security of elections ,” said Carrie Boyd, policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund. “It’s designed to trap Floridians unjustly in the criminal legal system for trying to participate in democracy

"Whether Florida's voting cops would field tips from partisans acting in bad faith or dupes who really believe that fraud is ubiquitous in U.S. elections, it is not hard to foresee them harassing election officials or voting rights groups who are simply trying to help people to vote," it contended.


Video: Ron DeSantis reacts to Biden, media critiques (FOX News)

The editorial board concluded the article by noting, "Florida already has plenty of sworn law enforcement officers capable of deterring and punishing election crimes." It argued that the election system "as it stands has kept fraud vanishingly rare in the United States. Proposals such as Mr. DeSantis' would only work to poison America's democracy."

Newsweek reached out to DeSantis' press representatives for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

As the editorial board explained, Republican candidates have performed well in Florida in recent years. No evidence of widespread voter fraud has come to light in Florida or elsewhere in the nation. The state went for Trump in 2016 and then again in 2020. Both of the state's senators are Republicans, and DeSantis won there in 2018. The majority of House members representing Florida are Republican as well.

Trump Spent Weekend Stewing That ‘Wiseguy’ DeSantis Won’t Kiss His Ring

  Trump Spent Weekend Stewing That ‘Wiseguy’ DeSantis Won’t Kiss His Ring Former President Donald Trump spent the long MLK Day weekend in reflection but not on anything related to the civil rights icon. Instead, he was fixated on one burning question, according to two people familiar with the matter: “Is he being a wiseguy?” The “wiseguy” was none other than Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a fellow Sunshine State resident and Republican Party star who just last week had gently dinged part of Trump’s record as president.

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants Florida to become the first state to install a dedicated police force to investigate election fraud under a new proposal . The proposal has voting rights advocates, election officials and Democrats worried that it could lead to voter intimidation and potentially suppression. Additionally, CNN reported that voting rights advocates believe establishing an office that will answer to the governor with powers to investigate election crimes is unprecedented at the state level.

Ron DeSantis (R) during his State of the State address on Jan. 11 said he would establish a special “ election integrity unit” to monitor elections . We could argue about whether DeSantis ’s authoritarianism is a truer version of conservatism than other varieties, but for now it’s what has made him the leading Republican contender for president in 2024 if Trump chooses not to run. Who knows what other policies he’ll be rolling out to solidify that position.

Nonetheless, Trump and many of his allies still insist that there was widespread voter fraud throughout the country in the 2020 election. The former president has demanded audits and election reviews even in states and counties that he won by substantial margins. Where these election reviews have gone forward, no evidence of malfeasance has been uncovered. Audits and recounts—including in areas where pro-Trump Republicans oversaw the election—have consistently reaffirmed that the results were accurate.

While polls have shown that a majority of Republicans incorrectly believe that Biden was not legitimately the winner in 2020, no evidence has come to light substantiating that conspiracy theory. To the contrary, more than 60 election challenge lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies failed in state and federal court. Even judges appointed by Trump and fellow Republicans rejected the legal challenges.

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