MIAMI – A Miami man, one of 20 people arrested by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ election crimes and security task force in mid-August, is speaking to Local 10 News, saying he was led to believe that he was legally allowed to vote when he, in fact, wasn’t.
Ronald Lee Miller, 57, who had served time in prison on a murder conviction, said he had even gotten a state-issued voter ID in 2020.
“I got it out of the mailbox thinking that my rights were restored, like the guy told me when I filled the paper out, so I was happy,” Miller said.
Miller didn’t know that the voter registration volunteer at the grocery store, who told him he could sign up to vote, was wrong.
Two years later, two weeks ago, Miller said he had no idea why a crowd of armed officers took him out in his boxers.
Ronald Miller voted in 2020 because Florida made it possible.— Glenna Milberg (@GlennaWPLG) September 1, 2022
He believed a volunteer who said he was eligible, urged him to register, helped him do so.
He is not eligible.
He & 17 other felons are now charged in a mass state elections bust, now under scrutiny.@WPLGLocal10 ⏩ pic.twitter.com/YGFYFMnFfo
“My house was surrounded by 50 U.S. Marshals,” he said. “You do me like that? For a card?”
That same day, that same scene played out in Miami Gardens and at 18 other felons’ homes across Florida, baffling them and their neighbors.
“I just didn’t know why the ruckus,” one neighbor said.
State elections officials, who determine voter eligibility, stand behind the arrests, though they now have felons’ accounts to law enforcement, that they were “approached by voter advocates” and “assumed it was all legit” and “signed the forms the volunteer filled out.”
“Why (didn’t) you send this paper right here before you sent the card?” Miller asked, showing a letter to Local 10 Reporter Glenna Milberg.
That letter tells Miller he is not eligible to vote and it was sent just last month, two years after the fact.
“None of these people should have been arrested in the first place if the system worked the way we want it to work,” Neil Volz, deputy director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, told Local 10 News on “This Week in South Florida” Sunday.
So the state’s position is that each individual voter has the responsibility to act lawfully. But the crimes that these people are charged with now imply that they intended to defraud the state by intending to vote illegally.
The evidence of that intent just isn’t there.