Election officials in Florida are looking into voter fraud from voters — or snowbirds — who live part of the year in the sunshine state and voted in the 2020 election.
So far three residents of the Villages retirement community have been charged with voting more than once in last year’s presidential election.
“Jay Ketcik, 63, Joan Halstead, 72, and John Rider, 61, are accused of casting a ballot in Florida and in northern states, according to court records,” the Orlando Sentinel reported. “It is unclear which candidate the three voted for or whether they knew each other. State voter records show Halstead and Ketcik are registered Republicans. Rider has no party affiliation.”
“You commit fraud in the state of Florida, and we will do everything possible to catch and charge you,” Wesley Wilcox, president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections’ association, said. “One of the benefits of charging these people is it’s a deterrent. It may take me a year to catch you, but I will catch you.”
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) December 17, 2021
The Sentinel report continued:
The state’s Division of Elections flagged six potential instances of multiple ballots being cast by people who live in Lake County, Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays said. That information has been turned over to the State Attorney’s Office, he said. He said he didn’t know the party affiliation of the six people, and it wouldn’t have any bearing on how the cases are handled.
Osceola County election officials identified seven cases that they thought warranted further investigation, said Kari Ewalt, a spokesperson for Supervisor of Elections Mary Jane Arrington. Three of those cases involved registered Republicans, two were registered Democrats and two had no-party affiliation, she said.
It’s not illegal to be registered to vote in multiple places, but casting more than one ballot in a federal election can land a person in serious legal trouble. In Florida, it’s a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
“If you vote in Florida and I think you voted somewhere else, I am going to turn you in,” Hays said. “If one person votes in two different places, that is one person too many.”
“Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing the creation of a new law enforcement division to investigate and punish election crimes,” the Sentinel reported.
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