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Former prosecutor Peter Antonacci to lead new election crimes office

Peter Antonacci
Lynne Sladky/AP
Peter Antonacci, Broward County Supervisor of Elections, left, works with members of the canvassing board on logic and accuracy testing of equipment used for counting ballots, at the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Lauderhill, Fla.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has chosen a former prosecutor and county elections supervisor to lead a new statewide office created to investigate voter fraud and implement elections security measures.

DeSantis announced on Wednesday that he's appointed Peter Antonacci to lead the state's new Office of Election Crimes and Security.

Antonacci has a decades-long career in public service. He's served as a statewide prosecutor under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

In 2018, Antonacci was appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott to serve as the Broward County Supervisor of Elections after Scott removed the county’s former elections supervisor from office.

Reaction from Democrats has been mixed. In a statement, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who's also a Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate, described the appointment as “purely political.”

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley, who's also a Democrat, expressed confidence that Antonacci will lead with an "even hand."

“I have had the opportunity to work with Peter as a fellow Supervisor of Elections,” Earley said in a press release. "Peter understands the complexities of election law, and the need for a reserved and judicious application of the power this new office wields.”

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.