(CNN) — Florida’s statewide prosecutor will have new power to go after people for election-related crimes under a bill now headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ desk.
The bill, which passed the state House of Representatives on Friday on a 77-33 vote, is a top priority for the Republican governor, who last year approved the creation of a controversial new Office of Elections Crimes and Security as part of a sweeping voting overhaul. The state Senate already passed the new bill on Wednesday, 27-12, along party lines. Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers.
The measure comes after DeSantis initiated a crackdown on voter fraud that resulted in the arrest of 20 individuals accused of voting illegally in 2020. However, the move hit a legal snag in some cases, including in Miami-Dade County, where a judge dismissed a case against a Miami defendant on the grounds that the state prosecutor had acted beyond its authority.
The bill clarifies that the state prosecutor, a position under the Florida attorney general, has jurisdiction on election and voting matters. The move would allow the DeSantis administration to steer prosecution of cases identified by the Office of Elections Crimes and Security to a prosecutor appointed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, and not leave it up to local elected district attorneys, who could be Democrats.
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