ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The people investigated by Gov. Ron DeSantis’s election police are moving through the court system following their arrests.
The third person arrested from Central Florida, Jerry Lee Foster of Orlando, had an arraignment Wednesday.
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All three of the Central Florida defendants, like others, thought they were eligible to vote, according to court records.
Its been just over a month since DeSantis announced that his newly formed election police investigated 20 people for illegally voting in the 2020 election.
“Now, they’re going to pay the price for it,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Ft. Lauderdale.
To date, 19 people have been arrested and there is still an active arrest warrant for one, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Of the three people arrested in Central Florida, 72-year-old Jerry Lee Foster was the last to be scheduled for an arraignment.
His attorney entered a plea of not guilty, according to court records.
The probable cause affidavit News 6 uncovered explains why.
Foster told an Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent that he thought his rights had been restored.
It’s the same thing news 6 heard from 2 other defendants, Peter Washington, and Michelle Stribling.
Foster was arrested in 2009 for use of a computer to solicit or lure a child to engage in sexual conduct, according to court records.
He was sentenced in 2010 and served one year and one month in prison, according to state records. Foster was also required to register as a sex offender.
Foster told a FDLE agent that “he heard on the news in 2020 that Governor DeSantis ‘blessed’ all convicted felons the right to vote,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 4, which automatically restored the right to vote for people with felony convictions after completing their sentences, except those convicted of murder or a felony sex offense.
Foster “completed a Florida voter application,” and checked a box that stated, “I affirm I am not a convicted felon, or if I am, my rights have been restored,” according to the affidavit.
He then “received a voter information card, with a voter ID number” and then “voted in the 2020 election,” according to the affidavit.
If someone is convicted of murder or a felony sex offense, their rights are not automatically restored. There is a clemency process they must go through.
Advocates for those with felony convictions said the state needs to have a centralized data base that people can access to easily check their status.
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