Voters in Florida retirement community, Villages, accused of voting multiple times in 2020 election


THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) – Three voters from a Florida retirement community that is widely regarded as a Republican stronghold have been arrested for voting more than once.

The arrests come weeks after Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pledged to create a law enforcement agency to investigate election crimes, though there is little evidence of electoral malfeasance in the Sunshine State.

The three voters, all residents of the Villages area, have been arrested over the past two weeks. They have each been charged with casting more than one ballot in the 2020 election after complaints were filed by the Sumter County election supervisor.

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Jay Ketcik 63, was arrested last week on a charge of third degree fraud. He has pleaded not guilty and court records show that he intends “to question the sufficiency of the charge”. An arrest report did not specify why he was charged, but Orlando TV station WKMG, citing court documents, reported that he was charged with postal voting in Florida in October 2020 while voting by mail in Michigan.

Joan Halstead, 71, was arrested two weeks ago for voting in person in Florida and by mail in New York in the 2020 election, according to an arrest report. She pleaded not guilty and also said in court documents that she intended to attack “the sufficiency” of the charge.

John Rider, 61, was arrested earlier this month on a similar charge. An arrest report did not say why he was facing the charge. There was no online case yet in Sumter County for Rider, who was arrested in Brevard County, so it was not known if he had a lawyer. No phone number was listed on an arrest report.

Online records show Ketcik and Halstead are registered Republicans, while Rider has no party affiliation. ClickOrlando.com reported that all three were registered Republicans at the time of the 2020 general election.

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Residents gathered in villages on November 3 to watch election night coverage on Fox News.

RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP / Getty Images

The arrests come weeks after DeSantis proposed new restrictions on the ballot box, creating the Election Police Force and changes that would tighten penalties for harvesting ballots. During his announcement, DeSantis echoed many talking points about the voting issues that have gained traction within the GOP following former President Donald Trump’s false claims that his re-election was stolen from him. . DeSantis is running for re-election next year and is considering a 2024 presidential run.

The governor had previously praised the smooth conduct of the 2020 Florida election, and there was a broad consensus among election officials and experts that there had been no fraud that could have affected the results of the last presidential election. .

An Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud in the six battlefield states challenged by Trump found less than 475 – a number that would have made no difference in the 2020 presidential election.

MarketWatch has contributed to this.


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