Florida officials quietly tweak probation system to make it easier to arrest people for 'voter fraud': report
Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at a "Unite & Win Rally" at Arizona Financial Theatre. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

On Monday, the Miami Herald reported that Florida officials have made a change to the criminal probation process that would make it easier to arrest and charge people for fraud when they sign up to vote while ineligible to do so.

"Starting in August, Floridians on probation have been required to sign an updated form placing the burden on them to determine if they’re eligible to vote," reported Lawrence Mower. "Beneath warnings about remaining drug-free and reporting to their probation officer is the new message: 'By signing this letter,' the updated form states, 'you agree that you are solely responsible for determining if you are legally able to register to vote and that you must solely determine if you are lawfully qualified to vote.'"

"Nearly 150,000 people are on probation, although it’s unclear how many have signed the form," said the report. "The Department of Corrections, which issues the form, said it was updated to ensure that everyone on supervision knew about the status of their voting rights. Some voting advocates said the warning could be helpful, although they highlight Florida’s broken system for determining voter eligibility."

This comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered and publicly touted almost two dozen raids and arrests of people who mistakenly believed they were eligible to vote after the passage of Amendment 4, the voter initiative that ended automatic felony disenfranchisement in Florida.

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Footage of these arrests were recently revealed to the public, with the accused shocked and confused about why they were being taken in, and even some of the police seeming apologetic about it.

Amendment 4 has a number of conditions. It does not apply to people convicted of murder or sexual offenses, and the legislature also imposed new rules after its passage clarifying that rehabilitated ex-prisoners must repay all fines and fees to regain their voting rights, even those that were issued after their original sentence.

DeSantis publicly put some of the blame on local election officials for improperly registering the voters, although his administration's chief election official separately told those local officials they bear "no fault" for the discrepancies.