Gov. DeSantis makes ballot harvesting a third-degree felony, bans ‘Zuckerbucks’

PJF3T6 Orlando, Florida, USA. September 6, 2018 - Orlando, Florida, United States - Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis listens to remarks by Florida Governor Rick Scott at a Republican unity rally on September 6, 2018 at the Ace Cafe in Orlando, Florida. (Paul Hennessy/Alamy) Credit: Paul Hennessy/Alamy Live News

Photo: Alamy

On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 524 to bolster election integrity in the Sunshine State.

The bill takes several steps to ensure secure and fair elections, including:

  • Increasing the penalty for ballot harvesting to a third-degree felony,
  • Compelling the Department of State to strengthen ID requirements for mail-in ballots,
  • Creating an Office of Election Crimes and Security (which falls under the Florida Department of State) that will investigate election law violations,
  • Conducting annual voter roll checks to ensure that ineligible voters are omitted,
  • Banning so-called “Zuckerbucks,” and adding a “prohibition on use of private funds for election-related expenses.”

Incidentally, the Foundation for Government Accountability outlined reports regarding the alleged use of so-called “Zuckerbucks” here.

Speaking about the bill, DeSantis stated:

“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. 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.” 

Many Florida Democrats oppose the bill. According to ABC News, citing Democrat Rep. Tracie Davis, “DeSantis’ so-called election reform legislation is a continued attack by the Republican Party to generate public distrust in the integrity of our elections. The bill is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer funds.”

Contrary to such sentiment, election integrity laws have been shown to help and increase voter turnout.

According to recent remarks made by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to Townhall, “When states like Georgia and Texas pass smart election integrity legislation, they see higher turnout and fewer issues at the polls.”

Mr. Hakim is an attorney and columnist. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, and other online publications. He is also a regular guest on OANN’s Tipping Point, and has appeared on Newsmax, The Dave Weinbaum Show, and Real America’s Voice. 

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