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Florida voter fraud cases starting to come to court | #phishing | #scams | #hacking | #aihp

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In August, 20 individuals were charged in a voter fraud crackdown led by Florida’s newly instated Office of Election Crimes and Security. Six of individuals living in Hillsborough County were accused of illegally voting while unqualified by state law.

The 20 individuals’ arrests were announced in an event headlined by Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale in August. The governor appointed the director of the Elections Crime Office in July, naming Peter Antonacci, a former elections supervisor and attorney, as leader of the new law enforcement division.

The office’s mandate was set in motion by a 2022 legislative goal of the governor’s, delivered by state lawmakers via SB 524, which created the security office and appropriated funding for election investigations. While the governor, when announcing the arrests, said it was just the start and called it an “opening salvo” for the voter fraud initiative, the move has been a source of controversy due to how it played out.

The 20 individuals named by DeSantis for voter fraud arrests were all previously convicted felons. A 2018 ballot measure approved by Florida voters to let felons vote once they’ve paid their restitution, served their time, and paid court fees, allows convicts to vote, with two exceptions.

Those convicted of sexual assault and murder are barred from enfranchisement, or being given the right to vote in Florida, even after completing their sentences and paying their restitution and court fees.

Those arrested in August were all convicted of sexual assault or murder, but were told they could vote by county elections supervisors. In September, several county election supervisors said it was up to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections to determine if a voter is eligible, and to send that information to elections offices to update voter rolls.

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