The midterms are upon us, and with them the issue of voter fraud. Voter fraud is a crime, but is it a felony? If so, what are the penalties for voter fraud? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Voter Fraud?
The American electoral system depends on fair elections for qualified leaders, but there are some who may attempt to rig an election through fraud – this is called voter fraud. Votes are counted by hand or by machine for every election from city council to the executive branch. If an individual or group adds fake ballots to the mix, they will be counted, and a candidate could win fraudulently.
Election crimes can be prosecuted at the state and federal level as felonies. Federal election crimes may include:
- Stacking the ballot with one or more federal candidates
- Conduct involving false voter registration
- Intentionally targeting marginalized voters
- Polling place abuses
- Violating campaign finance laws
Additionally, voter suppression – which is also election fraud – is a tactic used to prevent certain groups from voting. This practice is a federal crime.
The Florida Approach
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has taken a hard stance on voter fraud and has pushed for further investigation into claims. This approach to fraud has raised questions about the jurisdiction of the state in local elections and whether accusing people of voter fraud without proof is justifiable.
So far, at least 20 Floridians have been formally charged with voter fraud but after the initial case, there is a president for appeals. Of the 20, most were convicted felons who lost their right to vote according to Florida’s law that prevents felons from participating in elections.
However, the state’s rules on voting after serving a criminal sentence are confusing at best and several of those involved in the alleged fraud had no reason to believe that they were not clear to vote and communicated this understanding with their parole officers.
There are many cases left for the court to process, and there are still hiccups in the legal system pertaining to Florida election laws.
The Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. will continue to stay updated on voting rights laws in Florida.