Florida Newspaper Ditches Ron DeSantis For Promoting Trump Lies

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Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing the creation of a new state-level office to handle law enforcement investigations into election-related issues — and The Tampa Bay Times clobbered him for it, pointing out how, among other problems, the office would handle issues that already fall under other authorities’ jurisdictions. In addition, there is no legitimate documentation supporting the notion that systematic election fraud is a pressing problem, so the office that DeSantis is proposing wouldn’t even have much to do! The Times observed that DeSantis’s proposal is “another example of [him] pandering to pro-Trump Republicans who equate losing at the polls with a stolen election,” adding: “Legislators should reject this idea and support police and prosecutors in fighting real crime.”

As explained by the Times, DeSantis’s proposed new investigative office “would be staffed with 52 positions, including both law enforcement and civilian investigators, and report to the secretary of state, a gubernatorial appointee” — making the potential for political meddling clear. The paper observed as follows:

‘Even the Maytag repairman would kill for this job. The inconvenient fact is that election law violations are few, usually accidental and rarely change an election… Locally-elected prosecutors in Florida already have authority to pursue election-related crimes. [Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew] Warren, for his part, said the Hillsborough office had received only four referrals for election-related crimes in the last decade.’

As the paper added:

‘It’s bad enough to waste tax money on a do-nothing agency. But imagine what’s possible from employees justifying their existence with made-up work…. Regardless of the cases’ merit, DeSantis’ proposal would allow the Office of Election Crime and Security to “assert primary jurisdiction,” or take control, over any local investigation. The governor’s not only reinventing the wheel. He’s laying the groundwork for partisan prosecutions.’

Obviously, these are serious issues. DeSantis seems positioned as a potential contender for higher office — especially if, for whatever reason, Trump himself decides not to run for the presidency in 2024, and this push from the Florida governor reveals yet another indication of lies about the integrity of the electoral system in the United States becoming firmly entwined with what it means to be a Republican in the United States these days. As the Times explained things, DeSantis’s “idea comes in the wake of accusations from the GOP base that the Republican governor hasn’t sufficiently aped former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud,” and the paper added that “Florida needs more officers investigating murder, violent crime, missing children, exploitation of the elderly — not conspiracy theories to energize partisan voters.” Read more at this link.

Meanwhile, Florida is facing legal challenges over a sweeping, suppressive, elections-related law that DeSantis signed into law earlier this year, which includes essentially pointless provisions like new restrictions on the usage of drop boxes for mail-in ballots. Now, those boxes (except ones at the offices of supervisors of elections) will only be allowed to be available when early, in-person voting is also available, and they’ll have to be supervised in-person — which could obviously stretch the resources of certain locales, making using the boxes more difficult.