TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is appointing Rep. Cord Byrd as the next Secretary of State, following the resignation announcement by the prior secretary earlier this week.
The governor’s office announced the appointment Friday calling Byrd — a Jacksonville attorney who touts himself as ‘the Florida gun lawyer’ — a “staunch advocate for election security, public integrity, the fight against big tech censorship and the de-platforming of political candidates.”
[TRENDING: I just bought some beer, does it have to go in my trunk? Trooper Steve has the answer | Florida’s secretary of state to resign ahead of upcoming elections | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
“Cord Byrd has been an ally of freedom and democracy in the Florida Legislature, and I am confident he will carry that mission forward as Secretary of State,” said DeSantis in a statement. “I look forward to his successes ensuring Florida’s elections remain safe, secure and well-administered.”
Byrd has served six years on the Public Integrity and Elections Committee for the state, including two years as vice-chair for the committee.
While working on the committee, Byrd had a key role in forming Florida’s newest law on election integrity, which requires voter rolls to be annually reviewed and strengthens ID requirements for voters.
During his time as a state representative, Byrd sponsored a variety of legislation, including a pro-law enforcement bill in 2021, legislation to improve Florida’s cybersecurity and a bill establishing a Parents’ Bill of Rights.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida has led the way on election security and preserving freedom for its residents,” Byrd said in a statement. “As Secretary of State, I will make sure Florida continues to have secure elections and that we protect the freedom of our citizens in the face of big-tech censorship and ever-growing cybersecurity threats.”
Several Democratic lawmakers opposed the move, citing beliefs that Byrd may be a supporter of the QAnon movement.
These beliefs stemmed from an incident where Byrd was seen on a boat with a flag depicting a “Q” symbol.
Terrible appointment -- not only is it an "award" to Rep. Byrd for voting w/the Governor (including on UNCONSTITUTIONAL MAPS!) but Byrd has supported partisan bills that place barriers to voting and has verbally assaulted Democratic members in the legislature too. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/cHeQrZITna— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) May 13, 2022
Byrd has rebuked this, saying he does not support the movement.
“No. Unequivocally no,” Byrd said. “I never have. I have no affiliation or support (for QAnon) of any kind.
According to Byrd, he was “on a boat, one of about 20 that day, and a picture was taken.” He said the boat did not belong to him.
The Florida Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing the Division of Elections, including candidate filings and vote tabulations. Byrd’s appointment comes just months before the state primary elections in August.
Byrd commented earlier this year on what he called “nationwide irregularities” in the 2020 presidential election.
“There’s lots of low-level fraud that happens,” he said. “There were two truths in the last election. There were nationwide irregularities — call it fraud, whatever you want to call it. But here’s the other good news: in 2020, more Black Americans voted than ever.”
Laurel Lee, the previous secretary of state, will effectively resign Monday, May 16. She has not specifically stated the reason behind her decision.