When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis first announced a new unit to investigate alleged voter fraud in the state, he painted a picture of a sweeping police agency with more than 50 positions and unprecedented authority. Over one year later, the Office of Election Crimes and Security has struggled to staff up — even as the legislature recently increased its budget. Seven of the office’s 18 positions remain vacant according to a July organizational chart provided to The Intercept through a public records request.
“This office was created in a partisan attempt to further unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud, a claim often used to attack ballot access of Black and brown voters,” said Estee Konor, associate director of litigation at Demos, a think tank that works on issues related to racial justice. “Qualified people — regardless of political affiliation — do not want to be affiliated with fringe conspiracies about our elections.”