A bill voted by the U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday is sure to bring significant changes to the voting process. Namely, having more than two voting ballots will be seen as a felony in Florida.
Under a law passed in 2021, the offense was previously classified as a misdemeanor in the state. According to The Washington Post, the more serious classification in the proposed legislation will make it punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and up to five years in jail. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has confirmed that he will be happy to sign the bill into law.
The ballot felony is one component of a measure aimed at reforming various aspects of Florida elections. The bill would also create a first-of-its-kind elections police unit in the United States, raising concerns about its potential impact on voters, according to the Washington Post.
DeSantis said the changes were intended at strengthening “election integrity” in the state in a November news release announcing his intention to present the legislation, per report.
In a statement, DeSantis expressed his enthusiasm, pointing out that the U.S. would be able to enforce election violation, fight fraud, and ensure violators would be held responsible.
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A spokesperson from DeSantis’ office revealed that they were ecstatic and appreciated the Legislature’s support for Governor DeSantis’ election security measure. The Legislature achieved the goal of making voting easier and cheating more difficult.
DeSantis offered proposals for the police force around two months ago, but the bill passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate on Wednesday differs significantly. The governor had asked nearly $6 million to hire a team of 52 individuals but would instead be given $2.5 million to hire 25 personnel for the new Office of Election Crimes and Security.