TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida legislators are considering an overhaul to the state’s election laws with SB 7050.
Some of the changes are in reaction to the 20 ex-felons arrested, accused of voter fraud in summer 2022. The statewide sweep focused on sex offenders and convicted murderers who voted in the last election, according to Gov. DeSantis’ office. Some of the voter fraud cases touted by the governor have since been dismissed.
Six of the 20 people arrested during the crackdown live in Hillsborough County. In body camera video of the arrests, many appear surprised and confused as they’re handcuffed by officers.
Nathan Hart one of the Tampa Bay residents arrested for voter fraud during the operation.
“I’m hoping, somehow, God can intervene,” he explained.
Hart said he was convicted of a sex crime in 2004. According to the Gibsonton resident, he was approached by someone registering people to vote at the DMV two years ago. He said the volunteer encouraged him to fill out the paperwork, even after he explained his situation.
“I’m getting threatened with five-plus years in prison and all I did was what they told me I could do,” Hart said.
A new bill moving through the Florida Senate proposes a measure that could help prevent confusion in the future. It suggests the following disclaimer on voter identification cards: “This card is proof of registration, but is not legal verification of the eligibility to vote.”
The measure is one of dozens of changes to election laws proposed in SB 7050. Some other changes included in the bill are enhanced guidelines and penalties for voter registration groups and limitations to voting by mail for some first time voters.
The 98-page bill is currently moving through the Senate. You can read the full text of the bill here.