Voter fraud accusations could face legal hurdle, Florida senator says

There is fresh evidence that the state’s prosecution of 20 persons suspected of casting invalid ballots in the 2020 election might run into legal difficulties.

The Lake County State Attorney’s Office was unable to bring charges against six suspects in the same crime, according to a News 6 investigation.

Laws include wording that might significantly affect the other circumstances.

The Florida legislation that grants criminals the right to vote after serving their sentence – with the exception of those convicted of felonies including murder or sexual assault – is clear: the prosecution must establish intent.

The state senator who sponsored the law – dubbed Amendment 4 — told the media it is by purpose.

State Senator Jeff Brandes claimed to News 6 that he and other authors of the implementing legislation for Amendment 4 not only wrote it on purpose.

We included the term “willingly,” which indicates that they must be aware of what they are doing in order to genuinely commit a crime, since we felt that there needed to be some grace.

In May, the office of 5th Circuit State Attorney William Gladson used that specific section of the law in making the decision not to press charges against six persons suspected of casting invalid ballots in the 2020 election.

According to the law, it is a third-degree felony for someone to knowingly submit any false information when registering to vote.

According to Jonathan Olson, division chief of the 5th circuit, “‘Willfully’ requires the state to establish the activities were deliberate, knowing, and purposeful.”

“In every case where sex offenders cast ballots, they all seem to have been influenced to vote by different mailings and false material,” Olson wrote. “Each was handed a voter registration card, giving the impression they could vote in the election lawfully.”

That is one of the reasons Peter Washington, 59, told News 6 that he believed he was able to cast a ballot.

Washington said, “They sent me a voter registration card.”

Washington was one of 20 persons detained for allegedly casting a ballot in the 2020 election without authorization. He pleaded guilt in 1996 to attempted sexual abuse of a minor, which prevented Amendment 4 from restoring his ability to vote.

The statement of the arrests was made by the governor, Ron DeSantis, two weeks ago.

DeSantis remarked during the announcement that “they’re going to pay the price for it.”

However, a number of people who were detained, including Washington, believed that their rights had been restored.

A competent state attorney will likely have a difficult time proving that these individuals purposefully and voluntarily attempted to mislead or conduct voter fraud, Brandes said.

The 20 defendants are being urged by advocates to contest the allegations.

Washington is now being represented by attorney Roger Weeden, according court records.

The National Lawyers Guild’s Central Florida Chapter is presided over by Weeden.

According to Weeden, the group is contacting those defendants and offering to represent them without charge.

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