Woman accused of voting illegally in 2020 election enters not guilty plea

Michelle Stribling 1 of 20 recently arrested in Florida

Michelle Stribling, 52, was one of 20 felons arrested last month on suspicion of voting illegally. It was the first public outcome of the state’s newly formed Office of Election Crimes and Security. She says there's been a misunderstanding, because she thought she was eligible to vote.

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orange County woman accused of voting illegally in the 2020 election entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday morning during an arraignment.

Michelle Stribling, 52, was one of 20 felons arrested last month on suspicion of voting illegally. It was the first public outcome of the state’s newly formed Office of Election Crimes and Security.

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A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Oct. 6.

In a previous interview, Stribling told News 6 she thought she was eligible to vote.

“This is a misunderstanding. I didn’t mean no harm about this,” Stribling said.

Orange County records show Stribling was convicted after admitting to second-degree murder in 1993. She served 11 years in prison.

A Florida woman was arrested last week on accusations of illegally voting in the 2020 elections. However, she said she believed she was eligible to vote.

“I’m doing the right thing. I stay out of trouble. I do right by the law. I don’t get in trouble no more,” Stribling said.

Stribling, who cannot read or write, said she registered to vote at church.

She asked for assistance in completing the application, and the individual who was registering people would not assist her, according to Stribling’s probable cause affidavit.

“I just marked whatever I marked on the paper,” Stribling admitted.

Following Gov. DeSantis' announcement of 20 felons who were arrested on accusations of voter fraud, one state senator told News 6 that such fraud must be "willful" to constitute a crime.

Stribling checked the box saying that she is not a convicted felon, but added that she didn’t know what it stated.

She told detectives she thought her rights were restored “when she later received a voter registration card,” according to the affidavit.

“Now, all of a sudden, they say I can’t vote. That don’t make no sense,” she said.

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles released a statement after the arrests.

During a convention at the Doubletree Seaworld in Orlando Friday, FRRC discussed recent voter fraud arrests with News 6.

“Once a new or current registered voter is identified with a criminal record, the Florida Division of Elections prepares a packet with the individual’s documentations for the appropriate Supervisor of Elections,” wrote Cowles, one of several supervisors of elections who said it’s taken the state months to give them updates on statuses of potential voters.

“If we do not receive a packet from the state, we remain unaware of the individual’s conviction,” Cowles wrote.


About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.