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CBS Lines Up Dems to Smear Florida Election Fraud Investigators as Racist ‘Goon Squad’

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On Monday, CBS Mornings adopted the left-wing premise that a new election fraud investigative unit in the State of Florida was a threat to democracy and proceeded to line up Democrats to denounce the specialized law enforcement team as a racist “goon squad.” The segment ultimately concluded that Republican Governor Ron DeSantis – unlike his Democratic opponents – was entirely motivated by “politics.”

“And in Florida, the GOP wants to create a special police force for election fraud, which is raising alarms among voting rights activists,” co-host Tony Dokoupil warned while introducing the story. Correspondent Ed O’Keefe fretted: “Cecile Scoon runs Florida’s nonpartisan League of Women Voters and is concerned a proposal to establish a new police unit to investigate elections fraud is designed to keep minorities from voting.”

Soundbites ran of Scoon – an unidentified Democratic Party donor – fearmongering: “Well, why should you make voting harder?…Bringing law enforcement and having them be around looking for problems, there is a concern and there is a fear, and there’s that chilling factor that they’re gonna target black people.”

Ignoring that Scoon had zero evidence to back up that wild accusation, O’Keefe continued:

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis first introduced the idea last year….The current proposal stands at 25 investigators and officers across multiple departments. DeSantis and Florida Republicans are also pushing for new legislation that, among other things, adds even more I.D. requirements to absentee ballots.

Later in the segment, O’Keefe touted: “Democrats in the state legislature are strongly opposed.” A clip then ran of Democratic State Senator Tina Scott Polsky wailing: “I think we should be afraid of a political election police goon squad.”

“The new proposals come just nine months after DeSantis signed another law with voting restrictions, like limiting the use of ballot drop boxes that’s now being challenged in federal court,” O’Keefe whined. He then turned to another Democratic Party donor (which again went unmentioned), Leon County Elections Supervisor Mark Earley, who complained: “It was really an unneeded law.”

O’Keefe sympathized: “Earley is worried all the changes will confuse voters and scare off employees and volunteers he needs to run elections.” Earley lamented: “I think it’s become so controversial and adversarial it takes some of that special feeling that you’re really part of a trusted cadre of folks working to make democracy work.”

Earlier in the report, O’Keefe was at least shown briefly discussing the issue with Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, who explained: “We’re very confident that we hit a great intersection between making voting accessible and keeping voting secure….These resources would allow us to do even more to support our partnerships with those groups and be prepared for any challenges to come.”

Wrapping up the segment, Dokoupil asked this loaded question: “So, Ed, as you point out, there are vanishingly few cases of actual election fraud and zero evidence of any kind of systematic fraud….So what’s behind this new effort in Florida, and by all these Republicans in different states?” O’Keefe promptly dismissed the measures: “Politics. It’s about appealing to the Trump base.”

Funny how the Democrats O’Keefe featured – including those not properly identified as such – were not depicted as having any ulterior political motivation at all.

This effort to smear election security measures as some nefarious racist plot was brought to viewers by Tylenol and Gain (Procter & Gamble). You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.

Here is a full transcript of the February 7 segment:

7:40 AM ET

TONY DOKOUPIL: Former President Trump’s lies about the 2020 election are dividing the Republican Party, and the most recent rejection of the former president’s claims is coming from his former vice president, Mike Pence.

MIKE PENCE: President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. But President Trump is wrong. And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.

DOKOUPIL: However, many other Republicans are embracing and even promoting the former president’s falsehoods. And in Florida, the GOP wants to create a special police force for election fraud, which is raising alarms among voting rights activists. Ed O’Keefe has more.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Election Fraud Police?; FL GOP Proposes Forming Police Force to Investigate Voter Fraud Claims]

CECILE SCOON [LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF FLORIDA PRESIDENT]: Well, why should you make voting harder?

ED O’KEEFE: Cecile Scoon runs Florida’s nonpartisan League of Women Voters and is concerned a proposal to establish a new police unit to investigate elections fraud is designed to keep minorities from voting.

SCOON: Bringing law enforcement and having them be around looking for problems, there is a concern and there is a fear, and there’s that chilling factor that they’re gonna target black people.

O’KEEFE: Republican Governor Ron DeSantis first introduced the idea last year.

GOV. RON DESANTIS [R-FL]: This will facilitate the faithful enforcement of election laws and will provide Floridians with the confidence that their vote will matter.

O’KEEFE: The current proposal stands at 25 investigators and officers across multiple departments. DeSantis and Florida Republicans are also pushing for new legislation that, among other things, adds even more I.D. requirements to absentee ballots. Florida’s Republican secretary of state, Laurel Lee, oversees elections.

LAUREL LEE [FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE]: We’re very confident that we hit a great intersection between making voting accessible and keeping voting secure.

O’KEEFE: Well, if it’s so easy, convenient, and safe, why do you need to make all these changes?

LEE: Every election brings opportunities to look at what went well and what could be better.

O’KEEFE: Alleged voter fraud has been rare in Florida since the 2020 elections. Out of over 11 million votes cast, only four people have been arrested for trying to vote twice. But Lee says she supports the new election police unit because –

LEE: We simply don’t have the resources right now to be the partners we want to be to state and local law enforcement. These resources would allow us to do even more to support our partnerships with those groups and be prepared for any challenges to come.

O’KEEFE: Democrats in the state legislature are strongly opposed.

TINA SCOTT POLSKY [D-FLORIDA STATE SENATOR]: I think we should be afraid of a political election police goon squad.

O’KEEFE: The new proposals come just nine months after DeSantis signed another law with voting restrictions, like limiting the use of ballot drop boxes that’s now being challenged in federal court.

MARK EARLEY [LEON COUNTY ELECTIONS SUPERVISOR]: It was really an unneeded law.

O’KEEFE: Leon County Elections Supervisor Mark Earley is set to testify this week. He’s scrambling to keep up with all the changes.

EARLEY: They can make the law, but we need to make sure the law works. And so that’s really become a huge part of my job now.

O’KEEFE: Earley is worried all the changes will confuse voters and scare off employees and volunteers he needs to run elections.

EARLEY: I think it’s become so controversial and adversarial it takes some of that special feeling that you’re really part of a trusted cadre of folks working to make democracy work.

O’KEEFE: So Republicans in at least two other states are pushing similar ideas. In Georgia, GOP gubernatorial candidate David Perdue is vying to establish his own election police force. And in Arizona, a Republican state senator’s pushing for a bureau of elections that would have subpoena power. Tony?

DOKOUPIL: So, Ed, as you point out, there are vanishingly few cases of actual election fraud and zero evidence of any kind of systematic fraud. And Ron DeSantis himself said that Florida had a gold standard election in 2020. So what’s behind this new effort in Florida, and by all these Republicans in different states?

O’KEEFE: Politics. It’s about appealing to the Trump base. Look at our most recent CBS News poll. Just last month, it found eight in ten Republicans believe at least some people vote or cast ballots illegally. And two-thirds of Republicans think voter fraud was widespread in the 2020 election despite no evidence of that or any court case backing it up. So even though former President Trump won Florida in 2020, President Biden flipped Arizona and Georgia, those two other states considering this. Republicans are trying to do what they can to keep those states in their column. Tony?

DOKOUPIL: Alright, it remains to be seen how it will affect the actual vote in 2022 and 2024. Ed, thank you very much. 

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