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The Tampa Bay New Times has published a shocking new video.
Some Republicans would have you believe that voter fraud looks like a nefarious group of computer programmers rigging election machines. Others, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, say that the fraudsters are convicted felons who have done their time, completed parole, and registered to vote at the suggestion of Florida Department of Motor Vehicles employees.
On August 18, Florida police officers acting at DeSantis’ behest arrested 20 such people, 12 of whom were registered Democrats and at least 13 of whom were Black, for voter fraud, according to a new report from the Tampa Bay Times. Despite apparently not knowing it, those arrested had violated a provision of the state’s voting laws that outlawed them from participating in democracy.
In 2018, Florida restored voting rights to people who had been convicted of felonies—except for registered sex offenders and people convicted of murder. As the Times notes, Florida voter registration forms require felons to swear that their rights have been restored, but they don’t clarify that people with murder or sex crime convictions are exempt from automatic voting rights restoration.
Stunning new police bodycam video obtained by the Times shows police officers, who seem sympathetic to the accused, arresting people who say they were unaware that there were any restrictions on their right to vote.
“Why would you let me vote if I wasn’t able to vote?” one man who was a registered sex offender said as he sat handcuffed in the back of a police car.
“I’m not sure, buddy,” the officer said.