A 20-year-old man from Collier County, Florida, has been arrested for allegedly changing voter registration information for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
According to the Fort Myers News-Press, Anthony Steven Guevara was arrested on Tuesday after DeSantis showed up to vote at a polling station in Leon County, Florida, but found that the address on file for his voter registration had been changed.
The new address was reportedly registered at the home of a YouTube personality in Palm Beach County, Florida, where President Donald Trump is registered to vote.
The Washington Post reported that DeSantis discovered the problem after arriving at his polling station around 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon, and officials subsequently located a suspect by issuing a subpoena to Comcast for the IP address associated with the change.
Leon County Elections Supervisor Mark Earley described the change as the result of an unsophisticated hack, saying it ultimately resulted in a “minimal amount of inconvenience,” as DeSantis simply updated his information at the polling station.
Earley explained to the Associated Press that there are two voter registration systems where an address can be changed. The suspect has been accused of changing DeSantis’ address using the one with limited functionality — a system that requires only an individual’s date of birth to make an address change. (A second system with more functionality requires more specific information, such as license number, license issue date, and last four digits of social security number, and the suspect has not been accused of accessing it).
An address change made through the system with limited functionality could easily be changed again at a polling station on the day of an election, without compromising the ability of a voter to cast their ballot, said Earley. This system also has mechanisms in place to prevent large-scale hacking or fraud attempts, he added.
“This is designed for the convenience of the voter,” Earley told the AP, who said that, while illegally changing the address of someone else “is easy to do,” there are also “many things that are easy to do that have penalties that follow them.”
“This incident was perpetrated using publicly accessible voter data, and there is no evidence to suggest that this change was made through the Florida Department of State,” Florida Secretary of State Laura Lee told the AP. “We commend the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on their swift action to bringing this malicious actor to justice. The situation was corrected immediately and the voter was able to cast a ballot.”
Authorities believe that Guevara also may have accessed voter registration information for basketball stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James, as well as Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), but didn’t make any changes to them.
Guevara has been charged with unauthorized access of a computer and altering voter registration without consent, and has since been released from county jail on $5,000 bond, according to the Post. Both of the charges against him are classified as third-degree felonies, and carry a maximum prison sentence of five years.
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