The Tampa Bay Times obtained footage of police rounding up people arrested by the Florida governor’s voter fraud task force. Many said election officials told them they could vote

New, recently released police camera footage obtained by The Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald shows how the controversial voter fraud arrests ordered by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in August unfolded.

Videos show Tampa police officers arresting confused and stunned people for allegedly voting illegally in the 2020 election.

“I voted, but I did not commit any fraud,” Romona Oliver can be heard saying in police body camera video obtained from the Tampa Police Department. “I’m going out. The guy told me that he was free and free to go vote or whatever because he had served my time,” she said. Oliver’s attorney said he received a voter registration card and thought she was eligible to vote.

The videos, first reported by The Tampa Bay Times, provide new insight into a wide-ranging statewide operation conducted earlier this summer to crack down on alleged voter fraud in Florida in the 2020 election.

On August 18, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested 20 people accused of illegal voting in the 2020 election. DeSantis disclosed the charges at a courthouse news conference. Broward County, where he was flanked by police officers and State Attorney General Ashley Moody.

As convicted murderers and felony sex offenders, none of the individuals were eligible to vote.”

Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida

“They didn’t get their rights back, and yet they went ahead and voted anyway,” DeSantis said at the time. “That is against the law, and now they are going to pay the price for it.”

Mark Rankin, a Tampa-based attorney who represents Oliver pro bono, told CNN that Oliver served nearly 20 years in state prison for a second-degree murder conviction.

Rankin said Oliver was accosted at the bus stop one day on the way to work by someone registering voters, and she told them she was a criminal. The person then told Oliver that she could fill out the form and if she was eligible she would get a voter registration card and if she was not eligible she would not get the card.

Oliver received a voter registration card in the mail. He later went to the Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new driver’s license and was sent an updated voter registration card with his new address, according to Rankin.

“The State of Florida and the local Supervisor of Elections told him twice: ‘Here is his voter registration card. You are, as far as we are concerned, legally eligible to vote. So she voted and was shocked when she was arrested,” Mark Rankin told CNN.

The arrests marked the first public demonstration by the Florida Bureau of Election Crimes and Security, a controversial new investigative agency created this year and championed by DeSantis to investigate election wrongdoing.

Created under a sweeping bill passed this year to review voting in Florida, the office has been given 15 employees to launch investigations and allowed DeSantis to assign 10 state law enforcement officers to help investigate election crimes.

But almost immediately after the state announced the charges, questions began to arise about the arrests and whether people knew they were breaking the law when they cast their ballots.

In the five counties where there were arrests, the local election office supervisor told CNN that the state failed to inform arrested people that they were ineligible to vote, which is an obligation of election offices in Florida.

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