Two residents of the Florida retirement community The Villages pleaded guilty to voting more than once in the 2020 presidential election, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.
Charles Barnes, 64, and Jay Ketcik, 63, could face five years in prison for the third-degree felony, but will avoid jail time as long as they participate in 50 hours of community service and take a three-month civics class, among other requirements outlined by the state attorney.
“If you comply with these conditions during the period of deferred prosecution, no criminal prosecution concerning this charge will be instituted in this county,” wrote State Attorney Bill Gladson. “If the defendant violates the terms of this agreement, and this case is returned to the court’s docket, this document shall be admissible as an admission of guilt.”
Barnes has no listed party affiliation, and an arrest warrant indicates he had a Connecticut address. Ketcik is a registered Republican who made several Facebook posts in support of former president Donald Trump, Orlando CBS affiliate News 6 reported at the time of his arrest. He admitted to voting by mail in Florida as well as absentee in Michigan.
The Villages is a well-known hotbed of MAGA activism that has been visited by former President Trump, as well as Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who held a reportedly “raucous” rally there last year. Ketcik was one of three Villages residents, along with Joan Halstead and John Rider, who were arrested on double voting charges back in December. Halstead is also a registered Republican, and is accused of voting in Florida and absentee in New York. Ketcik, Halstead, and Rider all expressed support for had all expressed support for Trump. They were released after paying a $2,000 bond to avoid being jailed. Barnes was also arrested over the winter.
The news of Villages voter fraud comes the same day the Asheville Citizen Times reported that the state of North Carolina removed former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows from its voter rolls. Meadows is under investigation for voter fraud, and was reportedly registered in Virginia and North Carolina at the same time, with his North Carolina registration being tied to a mobile home in the middle of nowhere where he doesn’t appear to have ever lived.
If voter fraud is indeed a significant problem in America, it seems Trump-loving conservatives are the ones to blame.