Twenty Floridians have been arrested and charged with voter fraud after they solid ballots regardless of being convicted of homicide or sexual assault, Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced Thursday.
“These people voted illegally on this case, and there’s going to be different grounds for different prosecutions sooner or later,” the Republican mentioned throughout a press convention that was teased as a “main announcement.”
Beneath the Sunshine State’s structure, convicted felons mechanically have their voting rights restored as soon as they’ve accomplished the phrases of their sentence — except their convictions have been for homicide or felony sexual offenses.
“They didn’t get their rights restored, and but they went forward and voted in any case,” DeSantis mentioned. “That’s towards the legislation and now they’re gonna pay the worth for it.”
The 20 defendants – who haven’t been named – are going through a $5,000 fantastic and as much as 5 years in jail if convicted.
A lot of the purported unlawful voters solid their ballots in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the governor mentioned. Nevertheless, some defendants voted in different components of the state as nicely.
The arrests marked the primary main operation carried out by the state’s Workplace of Election Crimes and Safety, which DeSantis inaugurated earlier this yr amid heavy criticism.
Within the twenty years because the recount debacle throughout the 2000 presidential election, Florida has earned a status for fast and clean vote counts, inflicting many to query the necessity for a particular power coping with election fraud.
On Thursday, DeSantis hinted that extra prosecutions have been coming, alleging that ballots have been being solid by “unlawful aliens” in addition to by folks voting in two jurisdictions directly.
“Now going ahead, we have now our major arising on Tuesday after which clearly, we’ll have a common election this November,” the governor mentioned. “All of the issues that we’ve legislated, that’s stay and people are actual protections for voter integrity.”
Florida holds its major Aug. 23, with Democratic voters deciding on their nominee to try to deny DeSantis a second time period.
The governor – a staunch conservative and long-time backer of elevated election safety – has been floated as a potential Republican candidate for president in 2024.
Simply final month, a Michigan ballot discovered simply three proportion factors separated DeSantis and former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical major.
Like Trump, DeSantis has but to formally announce his intention to launch a presidential bid.