Florida officials have arrested and charged 20 people with felony convictions and charged them with illegal voting Florida governor Ron DeSantis said on Thursday, a move designed to show the muscle of a new office tasked with policing voting in the state.
The announcement came just days before the state’s primary election and as early voting is ongoing. DeSantis, flanked by law enforcement, said the 20 people were charged with voting in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach county, some of the most Democratic in the state. “They did not go through any process, they did not get their rights restored, and yet they went ahead and voted anyways. That is against the law and now they’re gonna pay the price for it,” DeSantis said. He also said all 20 had convictions for murder or sexual offenses, crimes that continue to result in a lifetime voting ban. Florida voters lifted the ban for all other offenses in 2018.
The governor released few other details about the charges, and indictments and warrants weren’t immediately available. That lack of detail is significant. The rules around voting with a felony are incredibly complex around the country, Florida included, and many people with felonies can be confused about their eligibility. There have been several examples, including in Florida, of illegal voting cases involving felons that turn out to be people who were confused. People with felonies can make easy targets for prosecutors looking to make a voter fraud case since they are already being monitored.
DeSantis used a press conference in Broward county on Thursday to champion the work of the office of election crimes and security, a first-of-its-kind office created this year and charged with probing voter fraud.
source: The Guardian