TALLAHASSEE — All Voting is Local Action’s Florida State Director Brad Ashwell issued the following statement in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing the arrest of 20 individuals for supposed voting crimes:
“This confirms what we’ve feared about Florida’s Office of Election Crimes and Security: It will be used to sow doubt in the minds of millions of Floridians about whether their vote truly counts. The timing of the announcement of these arrests days before Tuesday’s primary, when early voting is already underway, is a troubling reminder that Gov. Ron DeSantis and his political allies will use all levers of the government and law enforcement to intimidate and go after voters. The goal of today’s announcement is to further restrict the freedom to vote.”
Florida’s Office of Election Crimes and Security was made active in July and is already being leveraged by conspiracy theorists as a weapon aimed at local election officials. Executive Director Peter Antonacci reports to the secretary of state, who serves the governor. The office is able to self-initiate investigations and can respond to anonymous claims, giving it the ability to arbitrarily amplify false claims of fraud at critical moments.