Twenty people have been arrested and accused of electoral fraud, according to the governor, Ron DeSantis, who made the announcement on Wednesday in Broward County.
According to DeSantis, this constitutes a third-degree felony in the state of Florida, which carries a $5,000 fine and a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
DeSantis said that people cast illicit votes in Miami-Dade, Broward, and other regions of the state.
Gov. DeSantis’s statement in Broward Co about election fraud
At the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Governor Ron DeSantis gave a speech. The governor’s office had referred to it as an “important announcement” in the run-up to it. “My Vote Counts” and “Election Integrity” was displayed on event signage at the courthouse. He declared that 20 people had been detained on suspicion of voter fraud.
In the past, the governor has issued similar “important announcement” notices for the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court and the suspension of 13th District State Attorney Andrew Warren from his position in Hillsborough County.
What exactly happened in Broward Co?
Just days before the state’s primary elections are over, DeSantis made an announcement focused on voting and election integrity. Early voting for the Florida midterm elections is already underway; the actual election is scheduled for August 23.
The governor noted that “many other states” experienced “major concerns” during the 2020 election while stating in his opening remarks that Florida had one of the most secure elections in history.
DeSantis asserted that there were no unconstitutional modifications made to the voting process. “We generally obeyed the law, which was better for the people, the voters, and the transparency.” Although the election proceeded more smoothly and voters had more faith in the results, the governor stated that “we still had work to do.”
DeSantis said that the state had done more than any other state in the nation to make elections secure in Florida during the course of the previous two legislative sessions and that “We made very clear in the next legislative session after 2020, that this was going to be a priority.”
DeSantis mentioned modifications to absentee voting and polling procedures, such as making ballot harvesting unlawful, fining counties that failed to annually update or purge their voter registers, and outlawing “Zuckerbucks” in Florida.
DeSantis remarked, “No one had truly seen this before.” “Instead of advertising advertisements or doing something similar, hundreds of millions of dollars went directly to the election offices in 2020.”
Using the funds, he claimed, organizations “brought in their staff to basically administer the elections.”
The state established the Election Crimes and Security Office to handle investigations into any election or voter fraud. The governor claimed that new election laws would be meaningless if they were not upheld.
DeSantis stated, “We want to ensure that we have laws in place and that they are executed. The office was established on July 1 by the election law. They received the funding from the budget, but some people objected, saying, “Oh, what are they going to do, twiddle their thumbs?” I can confirm that they entered, named Pete, and started working right away.
DeSantis said that the new election office had collaborated with the local police. Then he stated that 20 people had been charged with voter fraud in Florida after casting unlawful ballots. The governor claimed that Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties housed the majority of them. He claimed there were more in other regions of the state.
They were disqualified from voting because they had been found guilty of either murder or sexual assault and did not have the right to vote, according to DeSantis. “These guys voted illegally in this case, and there’s going to be other reasons for other prosecutions in the future,” he added. They are no longer eligible to vote under Florida law.
Statement by Gov. DeSantis
DeSantis noted that sexual assault and murder convictions were exempt from Amendment 4, which allowed convicted criminals to vote once again. He said that because their voting rights had not been reinstated, they had broken the law.
DeSantis declared, “That is against the law, and they’re now going to pay the consequence for it. “They will face charges, and they are facing charges of electoral fraud right now. Due to their illegal voting in our elections, they might be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine in the state of Florida.
He declared that moving ahead, the state would “rigorously” implement its rules and endeavor to ensure the preservation of the most recent election data dating back to 2020. The state will give instructions to election supervisors on how to keep the records safe until the investigations into the elections are finished. In regards to upholding the legislation, he declared, “we don’t want to be discriminating.” Investigations into incidents involving people who voted illegally or in more than one jurisdiction were still ongoing.
DeSantis mentioned the Aug. 23 primary election when he added, “You also have other forms of fraudulent activities, that, where people may be brought to jail.”
Election Crimes and Security Office Director Peter Antonacci in Broward co
The issue of ineligible voters casting ballots in this state’s elections has long been well-known in the political science field, according to Antonacci. “And up until this point, nothing has been done about it. And while 20 voters might not seem like a lot, keep in mind that Broward County just elected a member of Congress with only five votes. There have been many illicit votes cast, and it is incredibly unfair to the candidates, the candidate’s supporters, and the general public that this has been let happen.
In order to hold those engaged in unlawful voting activity accountable and force them to stop, Antonacci pledged additional investigations and enforcement actions.
After that, Mark Glass, acting commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, stated that state law enforcement officers had started detaining persons for alleged election-related offenses in Miami, Orlando, and Tampa Bay.
According to Glass, the FDLE has detained offenders for election-related offenses who had previously been found guilty of murder or sexual assault.
Glass remarked, “Today is not about these horrible criminals. The focus of today is on law-abiding, hardworking Floridians. Simple is all we’re saying. Your vote matters in Florida.
He pledged further investigations and stated that the state will do all possible to ensure that people who are unable to vote “never cast a ballot.” He also praised those who had started the process and who had been “working diligently” to secure Florida’s elections.
What is the result at Broward co?
Returning to the platform, DeSantis warned that there would be more legal action taken against persons who cast votes in more than one area, including newly arrived Floridians who voted in their former residences in other states first.
If other states are giving you ballots, remember that if you’re a Florida voter, you can either choose to vote in that state and be a resident there or you can choose to vote in this state and be a resident, but you can’t do both, DeSantis said. “That’s going to happen; there will eventually be some foreigners; we don’t think there will be many, but there will be some.” We want to collaborate constructively with the federal government on these inquiries, but I’d say that hasn’t really happened so far. Their interests, in my opinion, are elsewhere.
DeSantis claimed that there was interest in Florida and that it was their responsibility to look into the matter in order to maintain the state’s laws and constitution. Before taking questions, he stated that Florida would keep looking into election-related issues and ballot harvesting.
When asked about voting procedures and the upcoming primary, Antonacci responded that they will continue to be involved to maintain election integrity. DeSantis asserted that he was certain that double voting infractions will soon be the subject of active prosecutions. He added that the cases wouldn’t be rushed since they needed to be thoroughly investigated to the point of being “airtight.”
DeSantis responded to a query regarding his recent decision to suspend Warren in Hillsborough County.
“Obviously, each of these constitutional officers has certain responsibilities under the law, and they should just be aware of that,” DeSantis said. “But there’s nothing specific we came, in terms of the Broward court, but I think we’ve shown that if there’s a basis to act, if laws are being disregarded, or people are breaching obligations, then under the Florida Constitution, the check is put in the Governor and the Florida Senate.” We did that with the state attorney on the other side of the state, and we’ve done that with the sheriff and a few other people in the past here.
Even though he noted that the 2020 elections were handled smoothly, DeSantis claimed he had suggested the election crimes office because “people weren’t being prosecuted” and that the revelation of 20 arrests was “only the starting salvo.”
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Both the people accused of engaging in voter fraud and the votes they cast unlawfully lacked any identifying information. They did not say whether they supported current President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, or whether their ballots were cast for more regional or state-level contests.
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