In 2018, the state of Florida restored the right of convicted felons to vote, with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, the state apparently put no safeguards in place to determine eligibility at the time of registration. This led to ineligible felons registering to vote, receiving a ballot, and voting.
Here’s one case:
In the case of Wood and at least 18 other people DeSantis has accused of voting illegally in 2020, the statewide prosecutor said they committed crimes in multiple jurisdictions when they first registered to vote and then cast a ballot, each third-degree felonies carrying up to five years in prison.
When Wood signed up to vote, his registration form went to the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections, who then forwarded that form to the Secretary of State’s office in Leon County to verify his eligibility — making it two jurisdictions, according to the statewide prosecutor.
The Secretary of State’s office, which reports to DeSantis, verified Wood’s eligibility through a quick search, and he was sent a voter ID card.
When Wood voted on Nov. 3, 2020, he did so in Miami-Dade, but his vote was certified in Leon County.
Governor Ron DeSantis says, “They’re going to pay the price,” but in the end, when this is sorted out, it will be DeSantis and the state of Florida that “pay the price” if there is any justice left in this nation. The burden needs to be on the state to determine eligibility at the time of registration in special cases like these. If the state, under its own laws, registered the person to vote, it’s on the state, not the person registering and voting, unless the state can prove the person intentionally and knowingly committed voter fraud.
At the very least, this was a poorly-executed law. The state had tens of thousands of previously-barred voters entering the voter rolls. A smart implementation would have asked the right series of questions so the applicant and registration officials could quickly determine eligibility.
At the worst, this looks like the old Jim Crow voter intimidation perpetrated by party officials against people who “vote the wrong way.”
Someone, anyone, please, tell me I’m wrong.