Following an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, two Lake City women turned themselves in Tuesday to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office on charges of election fraud.
Betty Jefferson, 64, faces 24 felony and two misdemeanor violations of state election laws, and Linda Ivery, 56, is charged with six felony and two misdemeanor counts of election law violations. The women were booked into the Columbia County jail, then released on their own recognizance.
The allegations stem from the election of Eugene Jefferson to the District 10 City Council seat in 2010. Investigators said Jefferson, wife of Eugene Jefferson, and Ivery asked voters to sign absentee ballots that were already completed, fraudulently obtained absentee ballots, and attempted to influence or deceive persons into signing absentee ballots.
Jefferson won the four-way race with 69 percent of the 541 votes cast and continues to serve on the Lake City Council.
The investigation into the election began following complaints to the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections and the FBI. State Attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit, William Cervone, will prosecute the case.