A week after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 people for alleged voter fraud, his administration quietly made a change that some say could help the state go after more people.
Starting in August, Floridians on probation have been required to sign an updated form placing the burden on them to determine if they’re eligible to vote.
Beneath warnings about remaining drug-free and reporting to their probation officer is the new message:
“By signing this letter,” the updated form states, “you agree that you are solely responsible for determining if you are legally able to register to vote and that you must solely determine if you are lawfully qualified to vote.”…
But the timing of the changes — just eight days after DeSantis held a news conference accusing felons of voting illegally — has some questioning the state’s motives.
Each of the people arrested in August had previously been convicted of murders or felony sex offenses, making them ineligible to vote, even under the 2018 constitutional amendment giving most felons that right after they have finished their sentences. The Departmentof State, which reports to DeSantis, allowed them on the rollsanyway, and they voted in 2020.
To break the law, the voters’actions had to be “willful,” a high legal burden. Many of those arrestedhave said they thought they could vote because they were issued voter ID cards.
The new probation forms — which those on probation are required to sign — could be used as evidence to show future actions were “willful,” said Alex Saiz, a lawyer for the Florida Justice Center, a Broward County-based nonprofit that provides legal aid and reentry services.