Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced that following investigations by the Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 20 individuals are being arrested by FDLE for breaking Florida’s elections laws.
All 20 of these individuals were disqualified from voting after they were convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, but they chose to vote anyway, and now they have all been charged with voter fraud — a third-degree felony punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Additionally, DeSantis directed the Department of State to communicate to county Supervisors of Elections with instructions on records they must preserve until additional reviews and investigations are complete.
“In 2020, Florida ran an efficient, transparent election that avoided the major problems we saw in other states. At the same time, the election was not perfect, which is why we continue our efforts to ensure the integrity of our elections,” said DeSantis. “Our new election crimes office has sprung into action to hold individuals accountable for voter fraud. Today’s actions send a clear signal to those who are thinking about ballot harvesting or fraudulently voting. If you commit an elections crime, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Attorney General Ashley Moody praised the governor for reinforcing the “trust” in the election process.
“As elected leaders, it is incumbent on us to ensure free and fair elections and instill confidence in the voting process,” said Moody.
Charlie Crist, a former governor running in the Democratic primary to run against DeSantis in the fall, had harsh words after DeSantis’ press event.
“Ron DeSantis likes to say we had one of the best run elections in 2020. Then why is he spending millions to alter the system, including making it harder for people to vote?” Crist asked.
“This is about playing politics, intimidating Democratic voters, and his desire to run for president, not securing elections,” he added.
Below is a list of those who were arrested:
- Romona Brown, 55, of Tampa, was booked into Hillsborough County Jail.
- Douglas Oliver, 59, of Tampa, was booked into Hillsborough County Jail.
- Tony Patterson, 43, of Tampa, was booked into Hillsborough County Jail.
- Nathan Hart, 49, of Gibsonton, was booked into Hillsborough County Jail.
- Hubert Jack, 65, of Tampa, was booked into Hillsborough County Jail.
- Byron Leonard Smith, 65, of Tampa, was booked into Hillsborough County.
- Peter Washington, 59, of Orlando, was booked into Orange County Jail.
- Michelle Stribling, 52, of Eatonville, was booked into Orange County Jail.
- Jerry Foster, 72, of Orlando, was booked into Orange County Jail.
Palm Beach County
- Leo Grant Jr, 55, of South Bay, was booked into West Palm Beach County Jail.
- Luis Villaran, 63, of Delray Beach, was booked into West Palm Beach County Jail.
- Robert Simpson, 64, of Pahokee, was booked into West Palm Beach County Jail.
- Terry Hubbard, 63, of Pompano Beach, was issued notice to appear.
- Nathaniel Singleton, 71, of Ft. Lauderdale, was booked into Broward County Jail.
- Eugene Suggs, 65, of Miami, was booked into Broward County Jail.
- Robert Lee Wood, 56, of Opa Locka, was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
- Ronald Lee Miller, 57, of Miami, was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.