Republican politicians in Georgia, Florida, and Arizona are proposing to establish police forces to hunt exclusively for voter fraud and other election crimes despite none of the three states reporting more than a minuscule number of election fraud cases after the 2020 races and experts saying they are costly and unnecessary, reports the New York Times. Supporters say the added enforcement will root out instances of fraud and assure the public that everything possible is being done to make sure that American elections are accurate and legitimate.
Voting rights advocates and even some local election supervisors argue that the efforts can easily be abused and used as political cudgels or to intimidate people from registering and voting. Democrats add that the main reason Republican voters have lost faith in the electoral system is because of the incessant Republican focus on almost entirely imagined fraud. The most concrete proposal is in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the State Legislature last week for $5.7 million to create a 52-person “election crimes and security” force in the secretary of state’s office, including 20 sworn police officers and field offices statewide. Georgia and Arizona soon followed, with Republican gubernatorial candidate David Perdue pledging to create a specialize election police force and State Senator Wendy Rogers filing legislation to establish a $5 million “bureau of elections” in the governor’s office with the power to subpoena witnesses and impound election equipment.