NAPLES, FL - According to an online news report from fox13news.com, a man from Naples, Florida, has been arrested for allegedly changing the voting address of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The 20-year-old man is facing a third-degree felony charge for purportedly unauthorized access of a computer and altering the governor's registration without consent. Florida election officials have affirmed that the voter registration systems in Florida are secure.
According to the Collier County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the suspect is also accused of entering the online voter registrations of Michael Jordan, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, and LeBron James, but the suspect did not make any changes to their voter registration information.
Laurel Lee, Florida's Secretary of State, stated that the suspect used "publicly accessible voter data." However, there isn't any evidence that the voter information change was accomplished through the Florida Department of State's website. The suspect is implicated in using the Leon County supervisor of elections website to execute the voter registration change.
According to the Florida Secretary of State, the voter information was corrected quickly, and law enforcement moved in quickly to bring "this malicious actor to justice." The Florida Secretary of State encourages voters to review their voter registration for correctness. All eligible Florida voters also have the ability to cast a ballot, and all votes will be counted. Also, the governor cast his vote without any issue.
The suspect's arrest occurred once the voting systems were reviewed prior to the general election that is taking place on Tuesday. According to the news report, federal officials confirmed that foreign disinformation campaigns intended to create confusion and distrust of the election process targeted Florida voters and in other precincts. The law enforcement agencies asserted that Iran sent threatening emails to voters, and Russia collected voter information that might be used in election interference.
The governor's address change was found when the governor arrived at the election office in order to make an early vote. According to the Collier County Sheriff's Office, the governor was told that his address was listed as Pretty Lane in western West Palm Beach instead of the governor's mansion in Tallahassee, Florida.
The Leon County elections office began an investigation and found the IP address belonging to the computer used to make the address change. Through working with Comcast, the IP address was later identified as belonging to a woman in Naples, Florida, and then law enforcement obtained and executed a search warrant. The suspect was one of three other people living at the Naples, Florida address. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement digital forensic examiner concluded that the suspect's laptop was used to collect information about the governor from the website Wikipedia, and he searched for "Florida My Vote," and "Florida Governor," and then the man accessed the Florida elections website. The penalties for making the illegal registration change are a $5,000 fine, and up to five years in prison.
Rick Swearingen, Commissioner for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, stated that he was proud of the offices of State Attorneys' hard work.