Gov. DeSantis announces charges against 20 voter fraud suspects
Was Ron DeSantis' Fox-only bill signing against the constitution?

desantis
‘This is the day we begin taking fraud seriously.’

In the first major development out of Florida’s new elections investigation unit, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced charges and arrests against 20 individuals over voter fraud allegations.

The announcement comes just days ahead of Florida’s Primary Election on Tuesday. The General Election will take place Nov. 8.

The suspects are felons who had previously been convicted of murder or sexual assault and had their right to vote removed, DeSantis told reporters in Broward County, a battleground in years of the state’s fight over election integrity.

“They did not get their rights restored and yet they went ahead and voted anyway,” DeSantis said. “That is against the law, and now they’re going to pay the price for it, so they will be charged. They are being charged and arrested today with election fraud.”

The charge is a third-degree felony that carries a possible $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

More investigations are underway, DeSantis added, and he expects to see more prosecutions. Florida also has evidence that non-citizens in the country illegally also are voting, he continued.

DeSantis proposed the election fraud investigation office in November as an agency to specialize in complicated election law. The Legislature provided 15 positions and $1.1 million for the office, which they established as part of the latest election law overhaul (SB 524) signed by DeSantis in April.

The law was the latest in a series of election integrity measures the Legislature has passed in recent years. One measure reined in the state’s election drop box measures after initially permitting them in 2019.

“All the things that we’ve legislated, that is live and those are real protections for voter integrity. That means no ballot harvesting in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “That is going to be our priority of this office to make sure that it’s one person, one vote.”

Joining DeSantis for the announcement was Secretary of State Cord Byrd, whose department oversees the Election Crimes and Security Office.

Democrats have criticized DeSantis for selecting Byrd, who as a lawmaker voted in favor of a law placing additional restrictions on mail-in ballots and drop boxes that drew a lawsuit from voting rights and civil rights groups. Moreover, Byrd’s wife, Esther, has defended the insurrectionists who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Also joining DeSantis was Election Crimes and Security Office Director Pete Antonacci, a longtime GOP fixer who DeSantis tapped in July.

“It’s been well known in the political science community for a long time that we have had a problem with ineligible voters casting ballots in elections in this state, and nothing has been done about it till now,” Antonacci said.

Twenty votes could make a difference, he continued, because recent races in South Florida have been decided by narrower margins.

DeSantis’ announcement immediately drew complaints from Democrats, like Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a candidate for Governor. Fried would eliminate this enforcement arm if elected, she vowed.

“Ron DeSantis went to Broward County today for one reason and one reason only — to intimidate voters and suppress turnout in the most Democratic counties in Florida. My message is this, if you’re eligible and registered, vote. It’s your right! Everybody wants elections to be secure, but Ron DeSantis — who has never refuted Donald Trump’s Big Lie — is the last person we can trust with ‘election police.’ As governor, I will disband this force and return jurisdiction back to local authorities. That’s who needs to handle fraud, not Ron,” Fried said.

Orlando Rep. Anna V. Eskamani was also incensed.

“FL Governor Ron DeSantis now targets returning citizens, who probably didn’t even know they were breaking the law following the passage of Amendment 4, Rights Restoration, in 2018,” Eskamani tweeted.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


38 comments

  • Elliott Offen

    August 18, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    If DeSantis had any integrity he’d assist in the investigation of DONALD TRUMP for his election crimes. Mr. “I just need you to find 11,080 votes… WHICH IS ONE MORE THAN WE HAVE.” Instead, going after a handful of felons who have most likely paid all their fines and done all their time. As usual, nasty grifting Republicans must find a scapegoat for doing the things that they do or for their sorry ass candidates who lose elections. Diversions from how fked up they are.

    • Sam Spade

      August 18, 2022 at 4:53 pm

      Keep eating that Democrat pablum. Obviously you have not had enough yet to think responsibly.

      • Elliott Offen

        August 18, 2022 at 5:27 pm

        Pontius Pilate DeathSantis is crucifying people for the sins of Donald J Election Thief. That’s ok though because this isn’t the Bible and Donald J Crook is gonna get his fat azz cooked in butter here shortly.

      • Ocean Joe

        August 18, 2022 at 5:39 pm

        Is there something responsible about worshipping a pathological liar, or sacking the capitol, or killing police officers, or attacking FBI offices, or taking Putin’s word over our own intelligence agencies, or paying a hooker $130k, or passing a giant tax cut for the rich and ballooning the deficit?
        “Listen Brad, you and your attorney could get in a lot of trouble if you dont do this for me…” He’s a criminal just like Al Capone, only he’s pled the fifth about 400 more times.

        • Elliott Offen

          August 18, 2022 at 6:12 pm

          And they either still support the idiot or act like it never happened!!! Go on and on about the Dems instead! It’s madness man these people are dogs..

  • Tom Palmer

    August 18, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    What about The Villages? What about the ghost candidates? This is a farce!

    • Elliott Offen

      August 18, 2022 at 4:19 pm

      It’s a scapegoat tactic and revenge for people voting out the orange menace. Sick puppies… threat to the nation.

  • Sylvia Sharps

    August 18, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    NO detail on who, just some comments to create division.

    • marylou

      August 18, 2022 at 5:17 pm

      Division’s all he has…. and hate

    • marylou

      August 18, 2022 at 6:33 pm

      Division’s all he has…..and hate

  • Bill

    August 18, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    I’d assume, after two years, that they knew about these guys already and just wheeled this out to justify the expense of the voter police they recently installed at the taxpayers expense just in time for the primaries.

    • Joe Corsin

      August 18, 2022 at 5:30 pm

      Yeah they just spent all that money to prey on 20 people while the biggest election criminal in American history sits down at Mar-a-Lago with all the money that he grifted off his stupid supporters. By God these people are dogs.

  • Rude Eye

    August 18, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    They just spent $55000 per vote only to put them back in jail and spend more. Now here is the DeSantis logic: “Twenty votes could make a difference” yes it could but, only if all these 20 men were from the same voting district, and the chances of that slim to none. Yeah and what happened to those republican voters from the Villages that got caught trying to vote twice, probably a pat on the back.

    • marylou

      August 18, 2022 at 6:39 pm

      Probably a beer

      Vote out all Republicans!!!

  • James R. Miles

    August 18, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    DeSatan is a bully who picks on women, children, transgender and LGBTQ people and keeps on spending Florida taxpayer money on legal issues that he will loose. He supports Trump who just tried to overthrow the U.S. Government! A patriot he isn’t!! He has to invent problems to justify his action!

  • Tom

    August 18, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Really pathetic commentary.
    Decrepit mind meld.
    Soros Manchurians, helpless, hapless and homeless. Trifecta.
    America’s Governor the greatest Gov in America!

    • Joe Corsin

      August 18, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Decrepit minds more functional than your mind which has been ground into fine powder apparently. WTF is a Soros Manchurian!!!😆

      • Tom

        August 19, 2022 at 12:40 am

        You corsin are, you scum bag.

        • Joe Corsin

          August 19, 2022 at 9:22 am

          🤡 Abadee bee bee babadee abadee bee babadee beedeebee beedeebee eeeee beedeebee 🤡😆

  • David In Shoreline

    August 18, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    Everything DeSantis touches turns to gold. Results here. Results there. Amazing. This is exactly what the voters are clamoring for.

    • Ocean Joe

      August 18, 2022 at 8:50 pm

      David, they are calling you and Tom back to the pickle ball court.

      • Tom

        August 19, 2022 at 12:37 am

        Ocean ready to unload on you!
        Just remember your snide bull shit!

        • Elliott Offen

          August 19, 2022 at 9:23 am

          Reported to FBI for terrorist death threats buddy get ready for the door smash 😆

  • Tom

    August 18, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    Yes David, he is the youngest Gov in country. Whiz kid Gov, one success after another.
    Makes it look easygoing.
    These losers suck wind.
    America’s Gov, MC Hammer says, you can’t touch this.

    • Elliott Offen

      August 18, 2022 at 9:13 pm

      You are a fine example of the effects of incomplete education in later life. Good news is that you’ve taught people something today.. albeit in a self degrading manner.

      • Tom

        August 19, 2022 at 12:32 am

        You are the idiot Elliot, phone home scum bag. You and corsin screw each other.

        America’s greatest Gov, whizzes upon you, corsin, peter h., Mary hoe, and the
        rest of the Soros Manchurian nation.

        Wah Warren, Wah.

        Can’t touch this! LMAO.

        • Joe Corsin

          August 19, 2022 at 9:25 am

          You have schizophrenia and need impatient hospitalization immediately…

      • Tom

        August 19, 2022 at 12:34 am

        You are the decrepit scum idiot Elliot.
        Phone home.

        • Elliott Offen

          August 19, 2022 at 12:47 pm

          You have dung in your skull… don’t know ye salami from ye azzhole 🌭🍩😆

  • PeterH

    August 18, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    I think the Feds located 4-6 Republicans in The Villages with blatant election fraud. Did DeSantis stage another crucifixion in The Villages?

  • Tom

    August 19, 2022 at 12:27 am

    Wait til they come for you and predators at Lincoln peter h.

  • Phil Morton

    August 19, 2022 at 7:13 am

    This is not voter fraud. After the overwhelming passage of Amendment 4, Ron DeSantis and the Republican legislature muddied the waters so much that no one knew who was eligible and who wasn’t. It was a mess and they did it on purpose.

    • John Doe

      August 19, 2022 at 7:46 am

      Did you get convicted for murder? Yes? Then you can’t vote. How f’n stupid are you people?

  • John Doe

    August 19, 2022 at 7:45 am

    Only an uneducated ignorant democrat could honestly believe that preventing convicted murderers from illegally voting will “intimidate voters and suppress turnout.” It takes a special kind of chutzpah for Nikki Friedski to even say that with a straight face. Giver her a prize for her acting skills.

    • Joe Corsin

      August 19, 2022 at 9:31 am

      You give an extreme example of someone who shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Me thinks you are the kind who disenfranchised millions by removing the right to vote for other felonies like possession of cocaine. These greasy tactics by Republicans have piled up over many decades and by God they should pay a huge price for it for decades. Just look at their actions in the last 20 years… bogus wars, economic crashes, Trump clown show. This party is a national security threat…global security threat…and should be eliminated.

  • Joe Corsin

    August 19, 2022 at 9:32 am

    @John Doe: You give an extreme example of someone who shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Me thinks you are the kind who disenfranchised millions by removing the right to vote for other felonies like possession of cocaine. These greasy tactics by Republicans have piled up over many decades and by God they should pay a huge price for it for decades. Just look at their actions in the last 20 years… bogus wars, economic crashes, Trump clown show. This party is a national security threat…global security threat…and should be eliminated.

  • Elliott Offen

    August 19, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    @ John Dodo Bird
    In Germany you can vote no matter what unless your charge has something to do with sedition or treason or rebellion against the state etc. This country is backwards because of azzholes like you. Why should someone be punished forever for a crime? What kind of insanity is that??? What is someone going to vote for crime? What’s your reasoning besides just pure spite for your countrymen??

  • Le Tish

    August 20, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    Commit voter fraud as a felon, go directly to jail. Commit fraud on your law enforcement application about your felony, keep your Broward Sheriff job. Not all pay the same price.

Comments are closed.


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