Orange County felons arrested for voting thought they had their rights restored

Color us shocked

As expected, the first major move of Ron DeSantis' recently created elections police against voter fraud was merely a roundup of people who believed they voted legally.

In case you missed it, the Florida Gov. declared victory over the dangerous scourge of voters when his ballot box cops arrested 20 felons across the state who voted in error. A report by WKMG shows that three of the convicted felons who were arrested in Orange County had all believed they could vote.

72-year-old Jerry Foster said he was told by an Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy that his rights had been restored.

“Foster heard on the news in 2020 that Gov. DeSantis ‘blessed’ all convicted felons the right to vote except for convicted murderers and sexual offenders,” his arrest report reads. “Foster called the Orange County Sheriff’s Office resident deputy assigned to sexual offenders and inquired about voting and the deputy reportedly told him that he could vote.”

59-year-old Peter Washington was also convicted of sexual battery. He said he was told by a corrections officer that his rights would be restored when he was released from prison.

52-year-old Michelle Stribling, who served time for second-degree murder, said that she simply can't read all that well. She claimed she asked for assistance with her voter registration form and was denied. She incorrectly marked that she was not a convicted felon.

Felons were previously barred from voting in Florida, but a massively popular ballot amendment passed in 2018 granted felons their right to vote after they had completed all terms of their sentence. That clear indicator from voters that felons should be granted their right to vote after they complete their sentence was twisted by the Florida legislature to include a regime of fees, court dates and approvals. While none of the three arrested would be eligible under the original text of the amendment, the ongoing move to rip back the rights granted in the ballot initiative have created an arena of confusion around felons' voting rights in the state.


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