Judge Dismisses Voter Fraud Case Brought by DeSantis

Sean Kernan

Just this Friday, a Miami Judge dismissed one of the 19 voter fraud lawsuits brought by Florida Governor Ron Desantis.

This case involved, Robert Lee Wood, who registered and voted despite being ineligible. He'd been convicted of second-degree murder in 1991 which, as a felon, renders him unable to vote. He was arrested by DeSantis's Election Crimes office and charged with one count of making a false affirmation and another count of voting as an unqualified elector. These charges can bring a fine of up to $5,000 but aren't very common offenses brought to court.

After the Miami-Dade judge rejected the attempt by the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor to charge the man, Wood’s attorney, Larry Davis, said, "'I'm pleased, but not surprised."

The office of the statewide prosecutor usually deals with crimes that involve two or more judicial circuits and which are complex, often involving collaborative and organized criminal activity. Dealing with voter fraud isn't typically something they have prosecuted, but it is still well with their powers given the right circumstance and evidence.

DeSantis's Attorney's alleged that Wood's votes were transmitted to the Department of State in Tallahassee, which would mean he'd committed a crime in Leon County also, making his case eligible for investigation by the state office.

Judge Hirsch wrote that “Robert Lee Wood’s misconduct, if misconduct it was, consisted in registering to vote, and voting, in his county of residence,” Hirsch added, “Yes, his voter application and his ballot were transported to another Florida jurisdiction. But they were not transported by him, nor by any putatively criminal co-perpetrator.” 

Nicholas Cox, a spokeswoman for the Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody, said that they intended to appeal the ruling.

Desantis has been on a campaign to reduce voter fraud in elections, which his opponents say is politically motivated, and part of an appeal to consolidate Donald Trump's core voter base, many of whom believe there was tampering in the 2020 election.

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