Last month, 10 convicted felons were being charged with voter fraud. Final week, the initial of them was sentenced to 3 decades in prison.
Daniel Dion Roberts been given the sentence as element of a plea deal that observed him acknowledge to committing voter fraud and offering fake voter registration facts. But it’s unclear whether what he did really rises to the amount of voter fraud.
So, what did he do? He registered to vote.
Just after voters frustrating accepted Amendment 4 in 2018, it has been authorized for felons who have done their sentences to vote. Nonetheless, the a variety of authorized issues encompassing the Legislature’s monthly bill applying the amendment have led to periods of confusion over who, precisely, can sign up.
Such was the scenario in Alachua County.
Roberts registered to vote in the summertime of 2020 from within the Alachua County jail. He did so when officials from the county Supervisor of Elections office environment visited the jail to assistance inmates vote — keep in mind, quite a few inmates are serving time for misdemeanors, which means they hardly ever lost their suitable to vote.
On the other hand, all those officials did not have situation files listing which inmates had prior felony convictions, and more importantly, which of them had outstanding fines or charges related to these convictions.
The inmates ended up merely furnished with the info just after which they could pick out irrespective of whether to sign the voter registration kind professing that they have completed all phrases of their sentence. It is fully probable that the inmates them selves did not know they nevertheless experienced courtroom fees to fork out, and consequently did not know that they were being breaking the legislation.
Of system, the layers out there will remind us of 4 Latin phrases they acquired in law college: ignorantia legis neminem excusat. Translation: ignorance of the regulation excuses no just one.
It could be that by the letter of the regulation these Alachua County inmates dedicated a criminal offense. But that doesn’t suggest the law is just, or that it was utilized reasonably. If it ended up, then functions of intentional voter fraud — this kind of as voting two times — really should be fulfilled with just as harsh a punishment, if not a harsher a single.
But they are not.
In fact, voting two times is rarely punished at all. The Villages citizens who pleaded responsible to performing so — Charles Barnes and Jay Ketcik — received 50 hrs of neighborhood support and ended up ordered to just take a a few-thirty day period civics course. No Supervisor of Elections official knocked on their doors and informed them they could lawfully vote twice, either.
What’s the Latin phrase for recognizing the law and deciding upon to break it anyway? Mainly because they did that and got away with it with small far more than a slap on the wrist.