Oct 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Voter fraud charges dismissed against Florida man

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) speaks during a press conference on Oct. 5 in Matlacha, Florida. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A Miami judge dismissed charges on Friday against a Florida man who was among voters Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) publicly accused of illegally casting their ballots in the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The defendant was among 20 people DeSantis announced charges against in August for allegedly violating election laws. The move, which targeted people previously convicted of felonies, drew national attention and blowback.

  • Robert Lee Wood had faced one count of making a false affirmation on his voter application and a separate count of voting as an unqualified elector. He was the first to have his charges thrown out.
  • If convicted, he faced up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fees and fines.

State of play: The judge said Friday that the statewide prosecutor who brought the charges against Wood did not have jurisdiction over the alleged offense in Miami.

  • The offenses would have to occur in at least two judicial circuits for the statewide prosecutor to have jurisdiction, the judge said.

What they're saying: "The decision is a step in the right direction in our continuing fight for election integrity and Florida's returning citizens," said Neil Volz, deputy director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, in a statement emailed to Axios.

What we're watching: The statewide prosecutor could appeal the ruling.

  • The ruling may lead others who were charged by the statewide prosecutor to make similar defenses.

Go deeper... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' voter fraud arrests: Body camera footage shows confusion

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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