Florida ‘election police force’ report looks to paint positive picture of crackdown on voter fraud
Since being founded nearly two years ago, new reports says Florida election police force has made voting in the state more secure.

Voting booth
The OECS report detailed several other prominent prosecutions and arrests across Florida.

A rosy picture of election oversight and voter fraud interdiction is presented in a recently completed report for the Florida Department of State Office of Election Crimes and Security (OECS).

Gov. Ron DeSantis established the controversial agency with support from the Legislature in 2022. Some dubbed the office an “election police force” in pursuit of ferreting out voter fraud at the expense of more than $3 million to fund operations since its inception.

The 2023 report on activities of the OECS was published and delivered to the Legislature on Jan. 15.

“OECS has continued to strengthen its partnership with the Florida Office Attorney General, Office of Statewide Prosecution and Florida Department of Law Enforcement,” the report’s executive summary said.

The 336-page report also states OECS operations saw enhanced commitments to primarily third-party voter registration organization fraud, ballot initiative petition fraud, double voters, noncitizen fraud, convicted felon fraud and campaign finance fraud.

Since it was founded nearly two years ago, the report said the OECS has managed to prove fraud and level fines against third-party voter registration organizations 26 times. That amounted to about $100,000 in fines. Another $34,000 in fines were leveled against political committees for various infractions for petition campaigns, according to the brief.

The OECS report also detailed several other prominent prosecutions and arrests across Florida last year including:

— A court conviction in January 2023 of a fraudulent voter registration application in Hillsborough County from a case that started in 2022.

— The arrest of a Marion County woman for casting two ballots in one election.

— The arrest of a Fort Walton Beach woman for falsely swearing to voter registration information.

— The arrest of three people who were convicted of felonies and still registered to vote.

— The arrest of an Alachua County man who was a convicted felon and voted in the 2020 election.

— The conviction of former Kissimmee City Commissioner Carlos Irizarry, for campaign reporting violations in his bid to run for an Osceola County Commission seat.

And there were about another half dozen “highlights” in the rundown of notable cases involving the OECS. While the report criticized some media for misrepresenting its mission at times, it included multiple accounts of its activities from various media outlets.

The report paints an upbeat picture of the OECS run under DeSantis-appointed Secretary of State Cord Byrd, but the release shies away from notable missteps by the department.

Shortly after it was formed, the election police force arrested 20 individuals the administration claimed had registered and voted illegally in the 2020 election. Most of those individuals said they believed their right to vote had been restored after the passage of a 2018 constitutional amendment, and many had even been contacted by state or county officials and encouraged to register. Several ultimately had charges against them dropped.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


  • Michael K

    January 22, 2024 at 4:21 am

    If the governor and his lackeys in the legislature were honest, they’d name it tge Voter Intimidation Squad. Such a waste of time and money – a solution in search of a problem that does not exist. And those Trump voters in The Villages who voted twice? A little pat on the wrist.

    • Silly Wabbit

      January 22, 2024 at 4:56 pm

      They elites!

  • Hungary takeover

    January 22, 2024 at 8:07 am

    Draconian efforts by a loser governor to make sure the 24 election goes to MAGA. Stop the American Taliban takeover

  • Dont Say FLA

    January 22, 2024 at 9:20 am

    Rhonda should hire competent people to work in the voter registration department.

    That seems like a better idea that staffing voter registration with incompetent MFL types and then having to create a special police force to sweep up messes and mistakes made by your MFLs.

  • JustBabs

    January 22, 2024 at 11:38 am

    The report was pathetically light on anything that was done exclusively by this $1.4 million dollar department. These cases required almost zero investigation and were caught by the usual outside sources. They could have easily been investigated and prosecuted by the Florida AG’s office. Waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds.

  • Silly Wabbit

    January 22, 2024 at 4:58 pm

    Weport cwap.

  • waked up righ

    January 23, 2024 at 8:32 am

    Another BS attempt to bolster Rona and the GOP’s Fox Entertainment bona fides to help feed the BIG LIE that Tramp won the last election. Worked out great, eh Rona? Rona and his lapdogs in the Florida GOP sure know how to waste taxpayer dollars.”Election Police” makes for a nice PR punchline for the sheep who buy into the Big Lie and who believe that Tramp walks on water. How stupid can you get to support old “grab em by the pussy” psycho with poop in his diapers.

Comments are closed.


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