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Cord Byrd
Cord Byrd.Steve Cannon / AP file

Florida Secretary of State defends voter fraud arrests

Secretary of State Cord Byrd tells Meet the Press Reports that non-enforcement encourages "bad behavior."


Earlier this week, videos surfaced in the Tampa Bay Times of voters getting arrested for committing voter fraud.

"Voter fraud?” one woman asks on the videos. “I voted, but I ain’t commit no fraud," she adds.

The voters were getting apprehended as part of efforts by the state's new Office of Election Crimes and Security.

In an interview with NBC News' Yamiche Alcindor for the latest episode of Meet the Press Reports, Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, a Republican, defended the creation of the unit.

"When you don't enforce your laws, you encourage more bad behavior," he told Alcindor.

When asked about the prevalence of the election security force in Democratic counties over Republican ones — of the 20 people arrested for voter fraud, 12 were registered as Democrats, according to the Tampa Bay Times — Byrd dispelled the notion there was any discrimination based on party.

"That's where the volume is," Byrd told Alcindor, adding, "Miami-Dade county has a million and a half voters."

Alcindor also talked to lawyers representing the folks arrested for voter fraud.

"None of these folks should have been arrested in the first place," Neil Volz, the deputy director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, told Alcindor.

To hear more from Byrd and Volz, watch the latest episode of "Meet the Press Reports" on NBC News Now and Peacock.