They were among 20 people arrested in August. On the 18th, Florida’s new police body camera footage was released to the Tampa Bay Times for alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election. At a news conference later in the day, the governor. Ron DeSantis applauds the Florida Office of Election Crime and Security, the electoral police force he created for baseless claims of massive election fraud, for arresting those he claimed illegally registered or marked ballots people. All of these people will “pay the price,” he vowed.
As previously reported by The Washington Post, those arrested — most of them black — were charged with violating a state law that bars those convicted of murder or felony sex offenses Vote after serving your sentence. The arrest raised questions about whether DeSantis and his electoral police department were weaponizing their new powers to gain political advantage, The Washington Post reported.
In video obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, those arrested appear confused as local and state police show up at their home to execute the warrant. The footage also showed authorities sometimes showing confusion when answering detainees’ questions.
Florida lets them vote. Then DeSantis’ election police arrested them.
A spokesman for the governor’s office did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment after the video was released.
All of them have been charged with voter fraud, a third-degree felony in the state, and face fines of up to $5,000 and prison terms of up to five years. Some of the accused told The Washington Post earlier this year that election officials and voter registration groups convinced them they were eligible to vote after the state’s 2018 amendment that restored voting rights for felons. Some of their attorneys said Florida appeared to be targeting their clients because they honestly misunderstood the law.
In a video obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, a frustrated man is handcuffed outside his home complaining about those charged with determining who can vote in the state.
“What’s wrong with this state, man?” the man said. “Voter fraud? You all say anyone with a felony can vote, man.”
Tim Craig and Lori Rozsa contributed to this report.