Two Hillsborough County residents who were part of a statewide sweep billed as an effort to combat voter fraud pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony charges and received six months of probation.
Hubert Jack and Michael Anderson each admitted to charges of voting by an unqualified elector, stemming from their participation in the 2020 election, despite prior convictions that made them ineligible to vote. Jack also pleaded guilty to a charge of false swearing.
The pair were included in a string of arrests made last summer by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new election security force. Those arrested were accused of having illegally voted, as they had prior homicide or sex offense convictions….
Both attorneys said their clients believed they were allowed to vote.
Before the 2020 election, Crawford said, Jack encountered a group that was registering people to vote. Jack, who had a prior conviction for sexual battery, was told, incorrectly, that Amendment 4 restored voting rights to all felons, his attorney said. The amendment did not restore voting rights to those convicted of homicide or sexual battery.
“He was told wrong,” Crawford said.
Jack signed a form attesting that he was eligible to vote. He was later given a voting card and a letter of congratulations from the supervisor of elections, his attorney said. No one challenged his eligibility.
In Anderson’s case, his efforts to register to vote occurred as he was trying to obtain clemency for a sex offense conviction from more than 20 years ago. He went to “extraordinary lengths” to verify that he was eligible to vote, including contacting people in Tallahassee, and the local supervisor of elections office, his attorney said.
“They assured him, yes, you’re eligible,” Bridges said.
The Department of State is required to notify and remove ineligible voters from the rolls, a task they’ve struggled to complete.