Listening to the media, you’d think election crimes never happen. The media rarely reports on election crimes even when they are prosecuted. But when they are not prosecuted, there is nothing to report. That falls on prosecutors who are failing to prosecute election crimes, even crimes referred to them by county election officials.
Across the country, election crimes are not being prosecuted. Often this happens because county prosecutors do not have the resources and time to investigate and prosecute these cases. (RELATED: Mail Voting Law Is Illegal Under Delaware Constitution, Court Rules)
Sometimes, however, election crimes are not prosecuted because prosecutors are ideologically saturated in the narrative that election fraud is a myth. They face well-funded pressure from reporters and groups who falsely tell the public our elections are free from any taint.
In Florida, we know that election crimes weren’t being prosecuted.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation, of which I am President, found 156 criminal referrals by just a handful of county election supervisors that were gathering dust in county prosecutors offices. These crimes included non-citizens voting, double voting, and voting for a person other than yourself.
Of those 156 referrals, we could not find evidence that a single one of these cases was prosecuted. Not one.
That’s where Gov. Ron DeSantis comes in.
The system was failing in Florida. When election crimes aren’t prosecuted, you get more election crimes.
DeSantis understood this problem. With his leadership, Florida created a state election crimes agency to investigate election crimes.
This was a commonsense plan to strengthen the integrity of Florida’s elections and ensure that election crimes are being prosecuted. When county prosecutors aren’t prosecuting any election crime referrals from election officials, the system isn’t working. When county officials don’t do their job, the state of Florida needs to step in. The push by DeSantis to fix this problem demonstrates he understands the failures of government bureaucracies that aren’t protecting our electoral system.
Early signs are that the reforms are working as intended.
Last month, Governor DeSantis announced the arrest of 20 individuals who allegedly voted in 2020 election illegally. These 20 individuals were not allowed to vote due to being convicted of murder or a felony sex offense. This was the first announcement of prosecutions by the election crimes unit. More arrests will come.
I applaud Governor DeSantis for taking steps to ensure that Florida has fair elections. The problem of election crimes not being prosecuted exists well beyond Florida though. In another report released by the Foundation, we found over 144,000 cases of potential election crimes nationwide in 2016 and 2018.
Other governors across the country should follow DeSantis’ lead and implement a similar state election crime investigatory unit.
Despite what the media says, voter fraud and election crimes are occurring across the county. It’s time our governors take action to ensure that people that commit election crimes are being prosecuted. This status quo of not investigating and prosecuting election crimes means there is no deterrence for individuals to not commit these crimes.
Further, a fraudulent vote can easily affect the outcome of many local elections. Election crimes can have a large impact on local elections that are often decided by a handful of votes.
Americans deserve to know that those who commit election crimes are being prosecuted. This will help ensure that we can all have confidence in our elections.
Investigating and prosecuting election crimes should be something that all Americans can support, regardless of political party.
Christian Adams is the President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a former Justice Department attorney, and current commissioner on the United States Commission for Civil Rights.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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