The Newly Created Florida Office of Election Crimes Makes Its First Arrests, 20 Accused of Voter Fraud
Florida - Thursday August 18, 2022: The newly created Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security has made its first arrests, charging 20 people with election fraud in the 2020 election. Governor DeSantis made the announcement this afternoon during a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, just a few days ahead of the August 23 2022 Florida primary next Tuesday.
The arrests follow an investigation by the Office of Election Crimes and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
All 20 are accused of voting in the 2020 election cycle when they were not eligible to vote because they had either been convicted of murder or of a felony sexual offense. 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.
Governor DeSantis called it the opening salvo of the election crimes unit crackdown on voter fraud. “Before we proposed this there were just examples of this stuff seeming to fall through the cracks. So, this is the opening salvo. There will be more than happen, and hopefully there is not a lot of cases that need to be prosecuted for 2022.”
The case against the 20 suspects was made by Pete Antonacci, the Director of the Elections Crime Unit. “You may think that 20 voters is not a lot, but you’re in Broward County and you know that you just elected a person to congress here by five votes. So, this is the first of it. You’ll see more of these actions until the people that want to take risks know that there is a downside risk to voting when you’re not eligible to vote.”
Cord Byrd is Florida’s Secretary of State who overseeing the integrity of Elections and Supervises the Election Crimes Unit who said “These arrests send a clear message to those that are actively engaging in election crimes or irregularities that our team of highly skilled investigators will undertake a thorough examination and if evidence is found of a crime, you will be held accountable.”