‘That is against the law’: Three men charged with voter fraud
Three Palm Beach county men appeared in court on Friday on voter fraud charges. Gov. Desantis announced the arrest of twenty individuals on the same charge the day before.
All individuals charged were felons who lost their voting rights. Two of the men are registered sex offenders who plead guilty to having sex with minors and did time. The other man, Robert Simpson, pleaded guilty and served time for murder in 1987.
In the state of Florida, those guilty of murder and sexual assault are not eligible for voting right restoration due to the gravity of their crimes. All of the initial twenty fell under this umbrella.
Five of the twenty arrested claimed ignorance and that they did not know they could not vote again. Simpson is likely not protected by this argument, as he requested restoration of his voting rights in 2017, which was never granted. An ignorance argument is not likely to hold up in court for any of the individuals, as ignorance is only relevant in crimes of intent, which this is not.
DeSantis made a statement on Thursday regarding all twenty charged individuals, including the most recent three.
“That is against the law and now they’re going to pay the price for it, so they will be charged,”
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link chalks up how Simpson was even allowed to vote in the first place as bureaucratic mismanagement. According to her, relevant authorities still had him marked as eligible on internal records, meaning Simpson was never stopped.
Left-wing activist group Florida Rising criticized DeSantis for the move. They noted DeSantis was flanked by law enforcement during his announcement. Mone Holder, the group leader, said, “It seemed to be a voter suppression or a voter intimidation tactic. More so than addressing Floridians in general, voters,”
However, DeSantis explains his motives as producing the opposite effect. Arguing accountability is critical, even just starting with twenty people.
“Most elections are going to go outside the margins where some of this stuff is not going to matter. But you have one or two that aren’t, and all of a sudden, the people’s will could be thwarted.”
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Be sure to read: Desantis’ Office of Election Security busts 20 for voter fraud