Prosecutors Drop Voter Fraud Charges Against 69-Year-Old Black Woman
State prosecutors have announced that they have dropped charges against a 69-year-old Black woman who was accused of voter fraud, according to a recent press release. The woman, who was on probation for a previous felony conviction, voted in the 2020 general election and the 2022 primary elections. She was arrested on September 29 by the Tallahassee police department. Law enforcement officials say that they had a warrant to arrest the woman after an investigation conducted by the Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security said that she illegally voted based on a previous felony record.
The State Attorney stated in a filing that there was no witness who could testify to the defendant being told she was ineligible to vote. They further stated that there was evidence to indicate that she believed she was able to lawfully vote.
Part of the problem with the prosecutions was that voters were misled on whether or not they were allowed to vote in primaries and elections. One document signed in October of 2022 stated that those on probation were not allowed to vote. However, another document signed in 2018 contained no such wording. The alleged voter fraud occurred between these two dates and there is no evidence to suggest that the defendant voted after being told they could not vote. Prosecutors now say that the woman committed an “innocent mistake” and it was not fraud at all.
Understanding fraud charges
This is important. Fraud is not a crime that you can commit by accident. It is a crime that must be done intentionally. The defendant, in this case, was able to establish that she had good reason to believe that she was authorized to vote and there was no evidence to suggest that she attempted to vote after she had been charged with a crime.
When prosecuting fraud, prosecutors must establish that the intent of the defendant was to commit some form of crime. In many of the voter fraud cases, the voters had no idea that they would be committing a crime simply by voting. No one told them at any point in the process that they were ineligible to vote. In fact, they were mailed voter registration applications and had every reason to believe that they were eligible to vote. Hence, they did not commit voter (or any form) of fraud. They were simply under the impression that they were allowed to vote and did so.
It still remains confusing for many voters as to whether or not they are allowed to vote. In Florida, those with felony convictions may be allowed to cast votes, but not while they’re on probation.
Talk to a Tallahassee Fraud Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Tallahassee criminal lawyer Luke Newman, P.A. represents the interests of those charged with various forms of fraud. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your defense strategy right away.