Two residents of The Villages, Florida, have pleaded guilty to criminal offenses over casting more than one ballot in the 2020 presidential election. The county in which the duo resides went for Trump in the 2020 election by a large margin — a little under two-thirds of the county’s participating voters backed him, and one of those who pleaded guilty (Jay Ketcik) is a registered Republican, so it definitely seems more likely than not that the votes on the illegally cast ballots were for Donald Trump — although it’s unclear whether there’s been a formal confirmation of that possibility. Besides Ketcik, Charles F. Barnes also pleaded guilty; both confessed to casting more than one ballot in an election, which is a third-degree felony that carries a potential prison sentence of up to five years.
Barnes and Ketcik are, however, facing what the Orlando Sentinel described as “a series of court-ordered requirements set by the office of Ocala-based State Attorney Bill Gladson” rather than jail-time. These requirements include repeated meetings with a supervising officer, the completion of 50 hours of community service, and participation in a 12-week adult-oriented civics class. (Presumably, each defendant would be mandated to independently complete the dozens of hours of community service rather than that being a collective total.) Besides Ketcik and Barnes, Joan Halstead and John Rider — other residents of The Villages — have also been criminally charged for casting more than one ballot in the 2020 presidential election. Ketcik and Barnes are the first two of the group to plead guilty; currently, the other two are awaiting trial. It’s unclear whether any of those caught in this matter previously knew each other. Despite Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud, the only real-world evidence that’s ever emerged is of isolated instances such as these — repeatedly involving Republicans.
Trump, meanwhile, has been keeping up with his public rally appearances, including one recent North Carolina event where attendance was dramatically lower than a Trump rally at the same venue ahead of the 2016 election. In an update from just after 7 p.m. local time on the night of the recent rally, a North Carolina news outlet stated: “Former President Donald Trump is taking the stage at The Farm in Selma in front of what appears to be roughly 1,000 to 2,000 people — substantially fewer than the 15,000 who attended his rally at the same venue in the days before 2016’s presidential election.” Womp womp.
Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff in the Trump White House, was removed from the voter rolls in North Carolina as officials investigate whether he fraudulently registered to vote and cast a ballot in the state during the 2020 presidential election. https://t.co/WHsKQ8RTCn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 13, 2022