By Patricia Tolson
Twenty people in Florida who had been disqualified from voting because of felony convictions are now facing voter fraud charges, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Aug. 18.
“The Office of Election Crimes and Security, in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office and the FDLE [Florida Department of Law Enforcement], has charged and is in the process of arresting 20 individuals across the state for voter fraud,” DeSantis said during a press conference at Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.Play Video
“The majority of these people illegally voted in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami Dade, although there are others in other parts of the state,” he said. “These people voted illegally in this case and there are going to be other grounds for other prosecutions in the future.
“They are disqualified from voting because they have been convicted of either murder or sexual assault and they have been disfranchised under Florida Law.
He added that Amendment 4 of the state’s constitution specifically cites sexual assault and homicide as convictions precluding someone from having an “automatic restoration of their voting rights.”
“They did not go through any process. They did not get their rights restored. Yet they went ahead and voted anyway. That is against the law and now they’re going to pay the price for it.
“So they will be charged, they are being charged and arrested today with election fraud. This is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida. They could face a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison for illegally voting in our elections.”
The arrests mark some of the first actions undertaken by Florida’s Office of Election Crimes and Security, a police unit created in Florida this year to crack down on voter fraud and other election crimes.
“These voters didn’t just attempt to vote, they actually voted” in 2020, Department of Law Enforcement Acting Commissioner Mark Glass said during the press conference. “To that end, we do everything in our power to ensure that those who cannot legally vote never cast a ballot.”
DeSantis also said there are “investigations ongoing into people who have voted in two different jurisdictions” and there “will be prosecutions” on that. Others who have voted are known to be illegal aliens.
He added that ballot harvesting is now illegal in Florida and will be monitored.
To make sure Florida’s election laws are “vigorously enforced,” DeSantis said officials are ensuring that all the records from the recent election of 2020 are preserved and that they are currently conducting “ongoing reviews at the state level.”
Notice has been sent to all 67 supervisors of elections that they need to preserve all documentation until the audits are completed.