What are election police? Florida’s about to find out

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that creates a state police for election crimes

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Feb. 24, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. In taking on Disney, Floridas Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is testing the limits of his combative leadership style while sending an unmistakable message to his rivals: There is nothing or no one he wont fight as he plots his political future. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SPRING HILL, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an election bill into law Monday at a sports bar in Spring Hill.

DeSantis signed SB 524, a bill that further tightens election laws and creates a state police to handle election crimes.

Among the other things included in the legislation:

  • Stops government agencies or officials from using donations for any type of election administration-related expense
  • Increases penalties for people working for third-party voter registration groups who fail to turn in the applications within a 14-day time frame
  • Requires county elections supervisors to conduct voter roll maintenance more frequently
  • Increases penalties for “ballot harvesting”, the practice of groups collecting vote-by-mail ballots en masse and dropping them off at elections offices
  • Prohibits the use of “ranked-choice” voting as an election method in any election in Florida
  • Tightens the requirements for citizens initiatives
  • Changed the name of ballot drop boxes to secure ballot intake stations

The new law is meant to expand on a sweeping election law passed last year. Late last month, a federal judge struck down portions of that law, accusing the Republican-majority Legislature of suppressing Black voters, and ordered that similar new laws must have court approval.

The DeSantis administration is appealing that ruling.