Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said his recent election police force has charged 20 individuals with voter fraud within the 2020 presidential election.
DeSantis, a Republican who drew applause from backers attending a news conference on Thursday, said his election cops identified people prohibited from voting due to murder or sexual assault convictions, but voted anyway in 2020.
“They didn’t undergo any process. They didn’t get their rights restored and yet they went ahead and voted anyhow. That’s against the law and now they’re going to pay the worth for it,” DeSantis said. “These individuals who we’re following up — are outside the contours of Amendment 4.”
Murder and sexual assault offenses are an exception to Florida’s Amendment 4, which allows felons to reclaim their voting rights, based on CBS News.
DeSantis said nearly all of those charged voted in either Broward, Miami-Dade or Palm Beach counties. He didn’t provide details about any individual cases.
Election fraud is a third-degree felony, DeSantis said, and people charged face maximum punishments of 5 years in prison and $5,000 fines.
The state launched the primary Office of Election Crimes and Security within the country in early July, drawing condemnation from critics who called it a voter “intimidation” tactic. Greater than 11 million Florida residents voted within the 2020 election. There’s no evidence voter fraud is a widespread issue there or anywhere else in the USA.
DeSantis said more prosecutions are to come back, with investigators specializing in individuals who voted in two separate jurisdictions and undocumented immigrants.
“That is just step one,” DeSantis said. “There are going to be foreign nationals. We wish the federal government to be working constructively on this, and up to now, that has not been the case. We now have an obligation to make certain that U.S. residents are voting.”
The politically ambitious Republican’s agenda suffered a setback Thursday when a judge ruled his “Stop WOKE” Act — which restricts discussions around race in businesses and schools — was unconstitutional, based on The Associated Press.
Earlier this week, Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren sued the governor, alleging he was faraway from his job in retaliation for his stance on abortion and transgender rights, AP reported.
DeSantis has been floated as a possible 2024 presidential contender. He’s running for reelection in Florida’s gubernatorial race in November.