THE VILLAGES, Fla. – A third resident of The Villages has admitted to voting twice during the 2020 election, court records show.
Joan Halstead, 73, entered a pretrial intervention program Wednesday that will allow her to avoid potential prison time if she successfully completes court-ordered requirements such as performing community service and attending a civics class.
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Halstead acknowledged her guilt as part of her agreement with prosecutors.
“The parties agree that the first step in rehabilitation is to the admission of her wrongdoing,” the written contract states.
“I have no comment about this. Thank you very much, though,” Halstead told News 6 when reached by phone Friday.
Two other residents of The Villages accused of voting twice, Charles Barnes and Jay Ketcik, signed similar pretrial intervention contracts earlier this year.
All three were facing a maximum of five years in prison if a jury convicted them of the third-degree felony.
A fourth resident of the sprawling retirement community, John Rider, is still awaiting trial. Rider has pleaded not guilty.
Under the pretrial intervention contracts, prosecution of Halstead, Barnes and Ketcik will be deferred for a period of 18 months, with the possibility that it will be permanently deferred if they successfully complete the court-ordered requirements.
Those requirements include refraining from violating any laws, possessing firearms without permission, and changing their residence or employment without permission, records show.
Halstead, Barnes and Ketcik must also complete a 12-week adult civics class based on the textbook “We the People; the Citizen and the Constitution” and receive a grade of C or better, the agreement states.
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.
Florida’s Secretary of State first learned about three of the alleged double voting cases after receiving anonymous emails from a self-described “citizen election integrity analyst” who used the pseudonym “Totes Legit Votes,” News 6 discovered.
The anonymous tipster claims to have provided Florida elections officials with nearly 300 examples of potential double voting, but a spokesperson for Florida’s Secretary of State has not confirmed that figure and has not answered questions first submitted by News 6 in December inquiring about the state’s response to the anonymous emails.
Barnes’ alleged crime was uncovered by an elections official in Connecticut who found evidence of his double votes while using a system provided by the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, a nonprofit organization that helps states improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls.
State leaders have never responded to questions from News 6 inquiring why Connecticut elections officials may have uncovered Barnes’ alleged crime before Florida officials did, despite both states being ERIC members.
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