Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that the state’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security has uncovered 20 instances of voter fraud since its establishment on July 1.
“The Office of Election Crimes and Security, in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office and FDLE of the state of Florida, has charged and is in the process of arresting 20 individuals across the state for voter fraud,” DeSantis said.
The governor claimed that the 20 individuals from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties voted despite being disqualified due to previous convictions of either murder or sexual assault.
The state of Florida does not allow convicts of serious crimes including homicide and sexual assault to retain voting rights.
The 20 being charged with voter fraud face up to five years in prison in addition to a $5,000 fine for the third-degree felony, according to DeSantis.
DeSantis added that Florida’s election security office will continue to review the 2020 election in search of fraud, as well as monitor upcoming elections.
“One of the things that we did in the most recent legislative session, though, is recognize, yes, you can have all these great policy reforms, and it’s important to do it, but if it’s not actually enforced then what difference is it going to make at the end of the day?” DeSantis said in support of the election security office and its work.
The Office of Election Crimes and Security was proposed in a voting bill passed by the Florida House in March. DeSantis named lawyer Peter Antonacci director of the office on July 6, shortly after its establishment as part of the Florida State Department.