A Ron DeSantis Crackdown On ‘Election Fraud’ Looks Increasingly Shaky

by | Sep 7, 2022 | Politics

A story in Florida deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting.It’s about Ron DeSantis, the state’s Republican governor, and the arrest of 20 Floridians. The crime they stand accused of committing is a form of election fraud ― specifically, voting even though past criminal convictions made them ineligible.“Today’s actions send a clear signal to those who are thinking about ballot harvesting or fraudulently voting,” DeSantis said at a news conference in August, touting the arrests as the first big score of an election integrity task force he created to great fanfare last year. “If you commit an elections crime, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”The arrests, the statements and the sentiments behind them are not especially surprising, given that DeSantis has always presented himself as a tough, “law and order” governor. And they are likely to endear him to conservatives who think America is awash in voter fraud, usually committed for the sake of helping Democrats and usually involving voters from minority groups. AdvertisementSure enough, most of the 20 arrested Floridians are Black, according to media accounts.But the rationale for their arrests hasn’t held up well to scrutiny. Over the past few weeks, several local and national publications have pieced together the stories of what many of these Floridians actually did and why. It looks less and less like episodes of nefarious election tampering and more and more like instances of honest confusion about what a new voter law says. It’ …

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