Ahead of midterm, Florida Election Crime Unit arrests woman accused of voting in 2 states

Cheryl Ann Leslie, 55, faces 3rd-degree felonies

Handcuffs (File) (WDIV)

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – A 55-year-old Loxahatchee woman was arrested Friday by inspectors of the state’s Election Crime Unit, accused of casting ballots for the 2020 federal and state primary elections in Florida and Alaska, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In addition to voting early and in person in Palm Beach County, Cheryl Ann Leslie submitted votes in Alaska with absentee ballots, according to a news release.

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The Election Crime Unit operates under the state’s Office of Executive Investigations, which “conducts complex investigations into allegations of criminal activity by public officials, investigations ordered by the Governor and complaints alleging election law violations,” according to FDLE. The unit was informed of Leslie by the Office of Election Crimes and Security, created in April as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 524 into law.

According to investigators, Leslie said her work as a physician assistant necessitated extensive travel between multiple states. Leslie currently works with a senior care facility in Loxahatchee, the statement reads.

Leslie faces two counts of casting more than one ballot in an election, a third-degree felony, according to FDLE. Though an investigation allegedly also revealed “a pattern of double voting” in both states’ elections in 2014, 2016 and 2018, relevant charges were not mentioned in the release and booking records show nothing more to add besides the bond amount Leslie was granted, $500 per count.

It’s not the first time that a Floridian has faced charges of voting more than once in the last presidential election.

In August, for example, The Villages resident Joan Halstead admitted to voting twice in 2020, the third in her community to do so at the time. Halstead was allowed to enter a pretrial intervention program to avoid potential prison time after completing court-ordered requirements such as acts of community service and passing a civics test. Elsewhere in The Villages, two men — Charles Barnes and Jay Ketick — also entered a pre-trial diversion program to avoid jail time in April after admitting to have voted twice in 2020. A fourth resident, John Rider, was still awaiting his voter fraud trial as of August and had pleaded not guilty.

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Rider, Ketcik and Halstead were registered as Republicans at the time of the 2020 election, state records show. Barnes was not affiliated with any political party. Their arrests collectively predate the creation of the Office of Elections Crimes and Integrity.

Leslie, who was registered as a Democrat in 2020, was booked around 10 a.m. at the Palm Beach County Jail, where she remains at time of writing, according to booking and state records.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.