Officials: Woman charged with voting in Florida and Alaska

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida woman was arrested Friday on charges that she voted in Florida and Alaska during the same election cycle over several years.

Cheryl Ann Leslie, 55, of Loxahatchee, was charged with two counts of felony fraud, according to Palm Beach County jail records.

Leslie, who is registered as a Democrat, voted in both the 2020 federal and state primary elections in Florida and Alaska, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement news release. Leslie’s Alaska votes were submitted by absentee ballot, and her Florida votes were submitted early and in person in Palm Beach County, officials said.

Leslie, who works with a senior care facility in Loxahatchee, told investigators that her work as a physician assistant required extensive travel between multiple states.

The Florida Secretary of State’s Office of Election Crimes and Security initially discovered Leslie’s multi-state voting and shared it with FDLE’s Election Crime Unit, officials said. Investigators said they found a pattern of double voting as Leslie also voted in both states in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Leslie was being held on $1,000 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.

Four people from the Republican stronghold of The Villages retirement community were arrested late last year and early this year on voter fraud charges. Two were registered as Republicans, and two had no party affiliation listed, according to state voting records. Three of them have since pleaded guilty to casting more than one ballot and been sentenced to diversion programs that would allow them to avoid prison time. The fourth awaits trial.

During the last legislative session, Republican lawmakers passed an election police bill pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, who cited as justification unspecified cases of fraud. DeSantis echoed many talking points on voting problems that have gained traction in the GOP after former President Donald Trump’s false claims that his reelection was stolen from him.

In August, DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 convicted felons accused of voting illegally in the 2020 election. But voting advocates have said the fact that the defendants were able to successfully register with their local election officials gave them a false sense of eligibility, so the cases were unfair.

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