Strengthening Florida’s Election Integrity
Governor’s Press Office
Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 524, Election Administration, to ensure that Florida continues to have secure and accurate elections.
This legislation will strengthen election security measures by requiring voter rolls to be annually reviewed and updated, strengthening ID requirements, establishing the Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election law violations, and increasing penalties for violations of election laws.
SB 524 increases the penalty for ballot harvesting from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and up to five years of probation.
The bill also establishes the Office of Election Crimes and Security within the Department of State. Before now, there was not a dedicated office to investigate all election crimes in Florida. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement received positions and resources in this year’s budget to support the criminal investigation of election crimes in partnership with the Office of Election Crimes and Security.
The bill requires voter list maintenance to be conducted annually by supervisors of elections in order to combat the possibility of fraudulent voting.
Finally, the bill requires the Department of State to recommend a plan on how to strengthen ID requirements for mail-in ballots. The Department of State must submit a report on the plan and draft legislation for any statutory changes needed to implement the plan by February 1, 2023. The plan will include how to prescribe the use of a Florida driver license number, Florida identification card number, social security number, or any part thereof to confirm the identity of each elector returning a vote-by-mail-ballot.
“Twenty years ago, nobody thought Florida was a prime example of how to conduct elections, but we have become a national leader by running the most secure elections in the country,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We need to do more to ensure our elections remain secure. We have ended ballot harvesting, stopped drop boxes and the mass mailing of ballots, and banned Zuckerbucks, and this bill will give us more resources to make sure bad actors are held accountable.”