TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Peter Antonacci, an attorney with a lengthy history of serving Republican administrations in Florida, to lead the newly-created Office of Election Crimes and Security.
Antonacci is a former Florida Deputy Attorney General and Palm Beach County State Attorney. He was appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott to lead Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections Office. Additionally, Antonacci also served as Scott’s general counsel while he was governor.
Most recently, DeSantis appointed Antonacci as Director and Chief Judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings. According to the division website, the DOAH facilitates “the trial and resolution of disputes between private citizens, organizations and agencies of the state.” The division also deals with disputed workers’ compensation claims.
“Peter Antonacci has dedicated his career to serving the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement about the appointment. “I am confident he will lead the Office of Election Crimes and Security with integrity and ensure that Florida’s elections are the most secure in the nation.”
DeSantis signed Senate Bill 524 into law earlier this year, creating the Office of Election Crimes and Security to oversee election administration in Florida. The bill was first proposed in the wake of the 2020 election to investigate claims of voter fraud. The governor will also appoint a group of officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to pursue election law violations. Additionally, the bill limits ballot harvesting and bans rank-choice voting.
Opponents of the bill claim it will impose unnecessary barriers to voting and the new requirements for maintaining voter registration could lead to thousands of voters being mistakenly purged from the system.
An Associated Press investigation of the 2020 presidential election found fewer than 475 potential cases of voter fraud out of 25.5 million ballots cast in the six states where Trump and his allies disputed his loss to President Joe Biden.
SB 524 went into effect on July 1.