Authorities arrested two women in Florida on Oct. 28 for allegedly engaging in electoral fraud and a man was arrested in Virginia on similar charges. The three incidents are not thought to be related.
Police charged 74-year-old absentee ballot worker Gladys Coego for illegally marking ballots, resulting in a small number of fake votes cast in favor of Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado, the Miami Herald reports.
In a separate case, 33-year-old Tomika Curgil was accused of illegally filling out voter registration forms on behalf of United for Care, a campaign to legalize medical marijuana.
In addition to filling out forms for five individuals without their permission, police say she also sent in forms for the dead and at least 15 made-up people.
“Our law enforcement effort against these election law violators was swift and resulted in an immediate arrest of the wrongdoers,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, a Democrat, said. “The elections department was quick to detect and report these violations to our task force.”
She added: “Anyone who attempts to undermine the democratic process should recognize that there is an enforcement partnership between the elections department and our prosecution task force in place to thwart such efforts and arrest those involved. Now we need to move forward with the election.”
Both women were charged with felonies. Curgil is held on $125,000 bail, while Coego’s bail was set at $10,000.
Meanwhile in Virginia, authorities arrested 30-year-old Vafalay Massaquoi for allegedly forging a public record and engaging in voter registration fraud, Reuters reports.
In both states, authorities have been quick to reassure voters the elections will be fair.
“There is no allegation that any illegal vote was actually cast in this case,” said Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter. “Furthermore, since the fraudulent applications involved fictitious people, had the fraud not been uncovered, the risk of actual fraudulent votes being cast was low.”
Miami-Dade Elections Department Supervisor of Elections Christina White also issued a similar statement to Florida residents, WLPG reports.
“I want to assure the voters of Miami-Dade County that the integrity of the electoral process is intact because our procedures work,” she said. “While disappointed by these incidents, I am very proud of the safeguards the Elections Department has in place to prevent these fraudulent attempts, and I commend the employees who remained vigilant, just as they were trained to do.”
Sources: Miami Herald, Reuters, WPLG / Photo credit: Miami Herald