“DeSantis announces arrests in Florida for voting fraud”

Miami Herald:

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 people across Florida — spanning five counties, including Miami-Dade and Broward — on charges of voting illegally, the conclusion of a two-month investigation spearheaded by the governor’s newly-created state agency tasked with investigating election crimes.

DeSantis, in making the announcement Thursday afternoon in a courtroom at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, said there would be other arrests for people who cast ballots but were not eligible to vote in Florida for other reasons, including voters he said were non-citizens.

“If there are certain rules and regulations in place, if people don’t think that those are going to be enforced, you’re going to have more violations,’‘ he said. “That’s just the way it goes.”

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Acting Commissioner Mark Glass said that officers from FDLE made arrests Thursday in the Tampa, Orlando and Miami areas. FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger told the Herald that 17 people have been arrested so far: two in Miami-Dade, three in Broward, three in Palm Beach, four in Orange and five in Hillsborough. The suspects span ages 43 to 72. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy between the number of arrests DeSantis cited and the number of arrests provided by FDLE.

Plessinger did not provide the arrest affidavits for each person but said they were each being charged with one count of false affirmation in relation to voting or elections and one count of voting as an unqualified elector. She said they all voted in the 2020 election but did not provide the dates the alleged crimes were committed. DeSantis said the people arrested were disqualified from voting because they had been convicted of either murder or sexual assault and they do not have the right to vote. He said their rights were not automatically restored under Amendment 4, which excluded people that have been convicted of sexual assault and homicide from having their rights automatically restored.

The Guardian:

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 people who had been convicted of felonies 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.

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