Four sexual predators and 19 sex offenders may have voted illegally in the 2020 Gadsden
County General Election.
To some, the 23 votes that are being investigated may not seem like a big deal, especially when it comes to the presidential race, or even the house or senate races – but on the other hand, it is a cause for concern when considering the local elections that may have been impacted by the presence of illegal votes.
In many smaller judicial elections, the incoming candidate is often decided by a mere single-digit of votes.
For instance, the Havana Town Council Member Group 5 seat was decided by six votes when Janice Hart beat out fellow candidate Donna Salters 183 to 177 that year.
The margins when it comes to local elections are much narrower than other national and state elections.
Ballots are sealed, so there is no way of knowing who the 23 offenders voted for in the 2020 election.
Voting records indicate 19 of the 23 voters under investigation were registered as Democrats. Three were registered with no party affiliation, and one was registered as a Republican.
Furthermore, public records reveal that 10 voted via absentee ballots, seven early voted, and six voted in person.
Kenya Williams, Assistant Supervisor of Elections, did confirm that the Supervisor of Elections
Office, along with the Department of State, is investigating the possible voter fraud.
However, she said they have no timeline of how long the investigation is expected to take.
In 2019, Amendment 4 went into effect, making an estimated 1.4 people with felony convictions eligible to register to vote, but that did not include those convicted of sexual offenses.
In fact, the exact ballot summary language for Amendment 4 reads: “This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case-by-case basis.”
While election fraud allegations are generally handled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, ultimately it is up to the state attorney’s office to bring charges against offenders.
State Attorney Jack Campbell did not confirm if the department is investigating voter fraud in Gadsden County, but he did say the outcome of an investigation by the department would determine whether his office prosecutes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations could also step into the matter.
According to the bureau’s website, voting in an election where the ballot includes one or more federal candidates is a federal crime.
Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service