FORT LAUDERDALE - With members of the Broward Sheriff's Office standing behind him at the county's courthouse, Gov. Ron DeSantis touted election reforms enacted during his administration.
Included in the reforms was the creation of the Election Crimes and Security Office.
On Thursday, he announced that they had charged 20 people with voter fraud.
Despite saying they were mostly in Miami-Dade and Broward, that was not the case when 17 of the 20 names were released. The list from FDLE was as follows:
- Romona Brown, 55, of Tampa
- Douglas Oliver, 59, of Tampa
- Tony Patterson, 43, of Tampa
- Nathan Hart, 49, of Gibsonton
- Hubert Jack, 65, of Tampa
- Byron Leonard Smith, 65
- Peter Washington, 59, of Orlando
- Michelle Stribling, 52, of Eatonville
- Jerry Foster, 72, of Orlando
Palm Beach County
- Leo Grant Jr, 55, of South Bay
- Luis Villaran, 63, of Delray Beach
- Robert Simpson, 64, of Pahokee
- Terry Hubbard, 63, of Pompano Beach
- Nathaniel Singleton, 71, of Fort Lauderdale
- Eugene Suggs, 65, of Miami
- Robert Lee Wood, 56, of Opa Locka
- Ronald Lee Miller, 57, of Miami
The governor said they voted while being convicted of murder or sexual assault which is a violation of Florida law.
"They do not have the right to vote, they have been disenfranchised under Florida law. Amendment 4 that passed specifically included people who have been convicted of sexual assault and homicide from being able to have an automatic restoration of their voting rights. They did not go through any process, they did not get their rights restored, and yet they went ahead and voted anyway," said DeSantis.
He said they are being charged with election fraud, a third-degree felony.
They could face a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
DeSantis said he's directed the Department of State to communicate to county Supervisors of Elections with instructions on records they must preserve until additional reviews and investigations are complete.
"In 2020, Florida ran an efficient, transparent election that avoided the major problems we saw in other states. At the same time, the election was not perfect, which is why we continue our efforts to ensure the integrity of our elections," said the governor. "Our new election crimes office has sprung into action to hold individuals accountable for voter fraud. Today's actions send a clear signal to those who are thinking about ballot harvesting or fraudulently voting. If you commit an elections crime, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
"As elected leaders, it is incumbent on us to ensure free and fair elections and instill confidence in the voting process," said Attorney General Ashley Moody.
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