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State didn't tell local elections office to remove some convicted felons until after they voted, officials say

The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office says notifications didn't come until more than a year after the election.

TAMPA, Fla. —
The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office said Friday it did not get notification from the state to take six convicted felons arrested last week off the voter rolls until after they had already cast their ballot in the 2020 election.

Spokesperson Gerri Kramer said per state law, her office relies on the state for updated information about voters who’ve been convicted of felonies.

“As outlined in F.S. 98.075 (5), the Department of State Division of Elections provides our office with information on registered voters with felony convictions whose rights have not been restored, so that we can begin procedures for removal outlined in F.S. 98.075 (7),” Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Gerri Kramer said in a statement.

However, Kramer said her office did not get notification about those convicted felons who voted until more than a year after the election.

By then, some said they had already gotten registration cards and thought they were in the clear.

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“I had no plans on committing voter fraud. I wasn't trying to swing the election with my one individual vote here in Hillsborough County,” Nathan Hart told 10 Tampa Bay last week. He’s facing a third-degree felony charge for voting in 2020.

“I definitely wouldn't be wasting a vote on a potential jail sentence,” he added.

Hart says he’s working with a lawyer to appeal the voter fraud charge against him.

Local elections offices have a specific process for removing people with felony convictions from the voter rolls. They send a certified letter and allow time for people to respond, so it can take a couple of months.

Kramer says the six arrested in Hillsborough County have been removed and are no longer registered voters.

“They did not go through any process,"Gov. DeSantis said last week. "They did not get their rights restored and yet, they went ahead and voted anyways. That is against the law.”

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, all 17 people arrested last week had either been convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses.

Restoring a convicted felon’s right to vote in these cases only comes through the State Clemency Board. Other convicted felons can have their right to vote restored after completing all terms of their sentence, including parole, probation and payment of all fines and fees.

Emerald Morrow is an investigative reporter with 10 Tampa Bay. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can also email her at emorrow@10tampabay.com.

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