Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says billionaire Michael Bloomberg is “discriminating on the basis of race” by helping to pay fines for black felons so they can vote in the state this November.
Last month, the Washington Post reported that Bloomberg — a donor to Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden — had helped raise $16 million to pay the fines for thousands of black and Hispanic American felons in Florida for the sole purpose of ensuring that they are eligible to vote in the upcoming election.
A day later, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced that her office was investigating Bloomberg’s donations and had referred the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), mostly because Florida has strict rules that make “vote selling” illegal.
DeSantis told SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily that Bloomberg’s donations are effectively racial discrimination.
“So what [Michael Bloomberg] wants to do is pay off the fines that the felons owe, but he’s only doing it, he’s basically discriminating on the basis of race, he will not do white felons,” DeSantis said:
He’s trying to focus on African American felons, and so I think people in his orbit were saying, ‘Yeah, we think they’ll vote for Biden if we do it.’ And actually, I’m not someone that believes in automatic felon voting. The voters passed it so we implemented it, but politically I actually think Trump would win the felon vote.
The attorney general of Florida, once she saw that, she said, ‘Wait a minute, Florida law, you’re not allowed to give anything of value to entice a vote. So she’s investigating. She’s also turned it over to the FBI to investigate. We’ll see what happens ,but I will say this: Monday is the deadline for voter registration so I’m not even sure how, physically, he would be able to even do this very much.
DeSantis characterized Bloomberg’s donations as politically motivated in an effort to help win the state of Florida for Biden on November 3.
“When you exclude people on the basis of race, to me that is something that should be verboten — you don’t do it in any way,” DeSantis said. “It’s not like there’s a one-way street, you people based on the content of their character, you don’t do things superficially like that. I think he’s doing it because I think he sees political benefit in doing that. I think he feels that if he did all felons, that the president probably would get a lot of those votes.”
“I think this is going to end up being problematic for him,” DeSantis continued.
In 2018, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment restoring the right to vote to about 1.5 million convicted felons. Last year, DeSantis signed into law a requirement that felons pay fines before they are allowed to vote in elections. About 775,000 felons still owe money before becoming eligible to vote.
Voter registrations in Florida, and a number of swing states, are on the side of President Trump this election cycle, DeSantis said:
I can tell you this, when Donald Trump won in 2016 in Florida, Democrats had 340,000 more registered Democrats than registered Republicans. As of the close of books on August, I think we’re down to a deficit of 180,000 and that’s as close as Republicans have ever been in the history of voter registration in the history of Florida.
Already, in September … looks like Republicans are far outpacing and I think that’s true in all these swing states. We’re seeing that in Pennsylvania, in North Carolina, so he’s going to have an electorate that is more Republican than the one he had in 2016 and I think that’s probably the biggest story of all of this.
Trump won Florida in 2016 by less than 113,000 votes.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.