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Voter Fraud Penalties Inconsistent; Poor, Blacks Get Harsher Terms

Among people across the U.S. who have been arrested due to casting an illegal election ballot, most fraud cases fall into one of four categories, Punishments have been wildly inconsistent, especially when comparing sentences of those who can mount a defense to those who are disadvantaged, reports The New York Times. Defendants who are poor and Black are more likely to be sent to jail than are retirees facing similar charges. The political rhetoric behind fraud prosecutions masks the infrequency and unfairness of those prosecutions, said Richard Hasen, an expert on election law and democracy issues at the UCLA School of Law. Therris Conney is one of many who have been arrested for breaking a Florida law that bans voting by people serving felony sentences. He was sentenced to nearly a year in jail. Conney voted after watching a presentation on voting rights for inmates. Like many others, he did not intend to vote illegally.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has encouraged a 'no mercy approach' for those committing voter fraud, and used it along his election campaign. “That was against the law,” he said about charges against 20 other felons who voted in Florida, “and they’re going to pay a price for it.” Last winter, four residents of the Republican-leaning retirement community The Villages were arrested for voting twice. Despite being charged with a third-degree felony, they were able to take a civics class to escape a criminal record. Most fraud cases fall into one of four categories: falsely filling out absentee ballots, usually to vote in the name of a relative; voting twice, usually in two states; votes cast illegally by felons; or votes cast by noncitizens.


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