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Polk County commission candidate accused of lying about eligibility for office

Martin William Grenfell convicted of felony in 2013

Martin William Grenfell
Martin William Grenfell (Polk County Sheriff's Office)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Polk County deputies say they arrested a commission candidate who indicated on an oath form that he was eligible to run for office even though he forfeited his right to do so when he pleaded guilty to a felony.

According to the report, Martin William Grenfell, 56, was convicted of trafficking in counterfeit labels in federal court in 2013. Documents related to that case read, “Mr. Grenfell pled guilty to a non-violent felony. As a result, he will lose his right to vote, run for office, possess a firearm, and probably most importantly to him, the opportunity to volunteer in his children’s school and after school activities.”

In June, deputies said Grenfell went to the supervisor of election’s office and signed a candidate oath form indicating that he was eligible to run for the district one commissioner position, despite being told years prior that he couldn’t run for office.

When contacted, Grenfell said he never indicated on a legal form that he wasn’t a convicted felon because the oath never asked for such information, it only asked if he had the right to vote, which he did because of the passage of Amendment 4, which resorted voting rights to most felons, according to the affidavit.

Deputies said Amendment 4 does not restore the right to run for office and on top of that, Grenfell’s probation won’t be completed until 2021.

“During the election process it is fundamental that individuals comply with the rules and laws that are in place to ensure a fair and honest election,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news release.

Grenfell is facing a charge of false swearing with regard to voting.