On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that following investigations by the Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), 20 individuals are being arrested by FDLE for breaking Florida’s elections laws. All 20 of these individuals were disqualified from voting after they were convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, but they chose to vote anyway, and now they have all been charged with voter fraud — a third-degree felony punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.
Additionally, Governor DeSantis 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 Governor Ron DeSantis. “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. “No voting system can stand without the backing and confidence of the people it serves, and thanks to Governor DeSantis, we are reinforcing that trust, and Florida’s elections system will serve as the standard-bearer for the rest of the nation.”
“I am grateful to Governor DeSantis for establishing the Office of Election Crimes and Security, and we are off to a great start at eliminating election fraud in our elections,” said Secretary of State and Chief Election Officer Cord Byrd. “These arrests put those who have no regard for the integrity our elections on notice and will ensure integrity in the voting process.”
“Today is about our honest, hardworking and law-abiding Floridians,” said FDLE Acting Commissioner Mark Glass. “In Florida, your vote matters. To that end, we will do everything in our power to ensure those who cannot legally vote never cast a ballot.”
“I’m glad to be a part of a team that is working hard to secure our elections,” said Director of the Office of Election Crimes and Security Peter Antonacci. “Our team of highly skilled investigators will conduct a thorough investigation, and if any evidence of election crime is found, there will be criminal sanctions.”