Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday said 20 people who had been disqualified from voting because of felony convictions are now facing voter fraud charges.
The Republican governor made the announcement at Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale during a press conference.
DeSantis said those charged with voter fraud were from South Florida and had been convicted of murder and sexual assault – which would prohibit them from voting.“This is against the law, and now they’re going to pay the price for it,” DeSantis said.
The arrests mark some of the first actions undertaken by Florida’s Office of Election Crimes and Security, a police unit created in Florida earlier this year to crack down on voter fraud and other election crimes.
The force was created under S.B. 524, which DeSantis signed in April. Under the law, penalties are increased for ballot harvesting from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.
The law also requires the Florida Department of State to strengthen ID requirements for mail-in ballots, requires voter rolls to be checked every year for ineligible voters and prevents election supervisors from receiving so-called “Zuckerbucks.”