Authorities have arrested and charged three residents of a Florida retirement community for allegedly casting more than one ballot in the 2020 election, multiple outlets reported on Tuesday. Joan Halstead, Jay Ketcik, and John Rider all face a third-degree felony charge for their votes, which could land them in prison for up to five years.
It’s unknown which candidate they favored, but Halstead and Ketcik are both registered Republicans, The Orlando Sentinel reported (Rider does not have a register party affiliation). The retirement community where the trio lived, The Villages, is also a well-known MAGA hub, and pro-Trump material has reportedly appeared on Facebook pages appearing to belong to Ketcik, Halstead, and Rider.
Halstead, 71, is accused of casting an in-person ballot in Florida while also voting absentee in New York. Authorities said Ketcik, 63, voted by mail in Florida and then voted absentee in Michigan. Both were arrested earlier this month and released on $2,000 bail after they turned themselves in. Brevard County deputies arrested the third alleged double voter, Rider, 61, at the Royal Caribbean cruise ship terminal in Port Canaveral on Dec. 3. Prosecutors have indicated he also voted once in Florida and once out-of-state, although further details were not immediately available, Orlando CBS affiliate News 6 reported.
“Multiple voting is unlawful,” said Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Governor Ron DeSantis. “It isn’t a crime to be registered to vote in more than one state, as long as you only vote in one.”
Trump hosted an October rally at The Villages ahead of last year’s election. “Thousands” attended, according to the Sentinel. The community has continued to be a hotbed of MAGA activity since the president left office. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) hosted a rally there in May. The Sentinel called The Villages as a “refuge” for the Trump-loving lawmakers, describing their rally as “raucous.”