As hard as Democrats try to argue with Trump and his lost supporters that instances of voter fraud in this country are rare and voter fraud was not the reason President Joe Biden won in 2020, Republicans refuse to believe it. Now maybe Democrats have proof. There is, in fact, voter fraud, but it continues to be Republican voters who commit it.
The latest example comes from three residents of The Villages, a senior community located just outside of Orlando, Florida.
Jay Ketcik, Joan Halstead, and John Rider are each charged with casting more than one ballot in an election, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
If you’re not familiar, The Villages is not just any retirement community—it is a massive place that’s home to 100,000 residents, spans two counties, and has its own census designation. It’s the fastest-growing area in the U.S. with 39% growth from 2012 to 2020, making it a hotspot for politicians courting what is a deeply divided community.
The arrests were prompted by allegations of voting irregularities launched by the office of the Sumter County Supervisor of Elections Bill Keen, according to prosecutors.
Click Orlando reports that Ketcik, 63, is accused of voting by mail in Florida in October 2020 while also casting an absentee ballot in his original home state of Michigan.
Halstead, 71, voted in person in Florida but also cast an absentee ballot in New York, prosecutors allege.
According to court records, Rider, 61, was arrested at the Royal Caribbean cruise ship terminal at Port Canaveral on Dec. 3.
All three are registered Republicans according to voter registration records, but it’s anyone’s guess who they voted for in 2020. (Although Ketcik and Halstead have posts on their respective Facebook pages offering support of Herr Trump.)
But it’s not just Florida Republicans who vote illegally.
In October, Donald “Kirk” Hartle made a claim that his wife, who had died in 2017, never got her mail-in ballot, but somehow her ballot was counted by Clark County officials.
The GOP went nuts, claiming fraud. Then guess what happened? Hartle, 55, was charged with two felony counts of voting more than once in the 2020 election and using another person’s name. He was fined $2,000 and sentenced to one year of probation.
In May, Bruce Barman, 70, pleaded guilty to felony perjury and unlawful voting after he was busted for voting for Trump in the 2020 election using his dead mother’s name.
“I was isolated last year in lockdown,” Bartman claimed to the judge. “I listened to too much propaganda and made a stupid mistake.”
Bartman was sentenced to five years’ probation.
Then there was Barry Lee Morphew, who was charged with murder in May after killing his wife and using her mail-in ballot to vote for Trump.
And in February, Medina County, Texas, Justice of the Peace Tomas Ramirez was arrested after a Bandera Grand Jury indicted him, as they had indicted three others two days prior for the same thing.
According to Fox-29 San Antonio, Ramirez, a Republican, is facing one count of organized election fraud, one count of assisting voter voting ballot by mail, and 17 counts of unlawful possession of a ballot or ballot envelope.
But to be clear, cases of voter fraud in the U.S. remain few and far between. As the GOP continues to claim election irregularities, reality proves different. Research has proved again and again there is no evidence of Trump and supporters' claims of widespread fraud.
“There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections,” Frank LaRose, a Republican who serves as Ohio’s secretary of state, told The New York Times. “The conspiracy theories and rumors and all those things run rampant. For some reason, elections breed that type of mythology.”
And Steve Simon, a Democrat who is Minnesota’s secretary of state, added: “I don’t know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counted when it shouldn’t have or didn’t count when it should. There was no fraud.”
Despite everything to the contrary, however, most Republicans and supporters of Trump still don’t believe the 2020 election results were counted legitimately. According to a poll released by the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, they don’t believe the midterms will be counted fairly.
"There's no way to understate the danger we're in" with such a large chunk of a single party questioning the integrity of the nation's very democracy, Executive Director David Becker told reporters in a conference call. "I personally believe this is as dangerous a moment for American democracy as the Civil War, and perhaps even worse."