WILLISTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday addressed a recently signed election security legislation, Senate Bill 524, which created a new law enforcement office for election fraud investigations. It happened while he was in Williston to announce more than $20 million in funding for infrastructure and development projects across Florida.
“Well, that’s inaccurate of what it is. We don’t have drop boxes in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. He was responding to a question about the new election security law, where a reporter asked if he was concerned about changing the name “ballot drop box” to “secure intake station.”
“Some of these places around the country they just have a box on the corner of a street and nobody’s even watching it, and we have a ban on ballot harvesting in Florida. You really can’t enforce that effectively if someone can just dump ballots into a random box somewhere. It wouldn’t be accurate to say we have drop boxes, because we don’t. What we do have is you can go vote in person, of course, you can request an absentee ballot, and they will mail it to you,” DeSantis said. “And now you have to show ID to request that absentee ballot, which was not, did not use to be the case in Florida. So that’s good, you can mail the ballot back at your convenience, that’s fine. If you want to drop it off in person, there’s not going to be some random kiddy you drop it into in the middle of town. You go to an election site, during normal working hours, and you hand it to somebody. That’s the way it should be.”
He said the state would save “so much money” by not just having drop boxes out and around the state, and criticized the ballot practices in California, noting that some ballot boxes had been apparently set on fire. DeSantis also took aim at ballot harvesting.
“If you can have political operatives come harvesting votes, that’s not a secret ballot. So, I think what we’ve done is very very good, we’re also very proud of having banned Zuckerbucks in the state of Florida, and not everyone knows what Zuckerbucks is,” DeSantis said. “Zuckerberg, from Facebook, in 2020, he poured $420 million into these non-profit groups and these non-profits would go into communities that were in important states and they’d go to the election office and say ‘here’s millions of dollars for you guys, but you gotta bring in our operatives, you’ve gotta ballot harvest, you’ve gotta have mass mail balloting’ and all of this stuff.”
DeSantis said by using the funding provided by Mark Zuckerberg, non-profit organizations had taken over the elections process in 2020.
“They effectively commandeered the machinery of the actual elections. That is wrong, that is not inspiring confidence in terms of having election with integrity. And so in Florida we were one of the first states to just outright banned Zuckerbucks,” DeSantis said. “What we found after we did that was some of the elections offices were like ‘yeah we can’t use Zuckerbucks to run the elections, but maybe we can get Zuckerbucks for like lawsuit expenses.’ No, so this year we added in our elections bill, we added a ban on any type of Zuckerbucks, even if it’s not for election administration, because it’s just a corrupting influence, basically having Silicon Valley run your election.”
He named places like Michigan and Ohio, and said it didn’t make sense.
“Also the bill I signed this week, we’re going to have an election integrity unit in state government, to focus solely on enforcing election laws,” DeSantis said.
The governor said he thought having the office would deter violations from happening, saying elections supervisors were not investigators.