New Florida Agency Has First Voter Fraud Charges

DeSantis announces 20 people cast ballots who weren't entitled to
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2022 7:05 PM CDT
New Florida Agency Has First Voter Fraud Charges
Florida Election Crimes and Security Office Director Peter Antonacci speaks Thursday about his office's investigation.   (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

(Newser) – Florida's election crimes office, which came into existence on July 1, has uncovered its first cases of voting fraud, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday. At a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, DeSantis said 20 people who had been convicted on murder or sexual assault charges cast votes in the 2020 election. The state has restored voting rights to most felons, but the 2018 ballot measure doesn't cover convictions for those crimes, CBS News reports. "They did not get their rights restored, and yet they went ahead and voted anyways," DeSantis said. "That is against the law, and now they're going to pay the price for it."

Most of the voters arrested live in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties, the governor said. The charge is third-degree felony election fraud, which could bring a fine of $5,000 and a prison sentence of five years, per ClickOrlando. Peter Antonacci, who runs the new office, said at the press conference that 20 votes might not seem like many, but he pointed out that it would have been enough to swing an election last November. US Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won that Democratic primary by five votes, per Axios. "This is the day we begin taking fraud seriously," Antonacci said. (Read more election fraud stories.)

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