There has been a lot of talk about election integrity issues during the 2020 elections.
Ballot harvesting was one of the most egregious as votes were dropped off in ballot boxes, by shady-looking individuals, sometimes dozens of them at a time even though it is against the law.
Florida is taking a big step towards stopping the practice. Under a bill passed by state lawmakers Wednesday, possessing more than two ballots will become a felony.
The offense was previously a misdemeanor in the state under a 2021 law. But the more serious classification in the new legislation will make it punishable with a fine of up to $50,000 and five years in prison, The Washington Post reported. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has indicated he will sign the bill into law.
The ballot felony is just one part of a bill that aims to reform certain elements of Florida elections. The legislation would also establish a first-of-its-kind elections police force for the U.S., which has raised concerns about its possible impact on voters, the Post reported.
In a November press release that announced his intention to propose the legislation, DeSantis said that the measures were aimed at bolstering “election integrity” in the state.
“I am excited that with this legislation, our state will be able to enforce election violations, combat voter fraud and make sure violators are held accountable,” he said in a statement. “If potential violators know they will be held accountable, they will be much less likely to engage in improper conduct in the first place.”
DeSantis’ office is “looking forward” to the bill landing on his desk, a spokesperson told Newsweek.
“We’re very excited and thank the Legislature for delivering on Governor DeSantis’ election security initiative. The Legislature carried out our goal of making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” the spokesperson said.
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