PALATKA, Fla. – The names of 16 voters have been purged from the voting rolls by the Putnam County Supervisor of Elections after a legal challenge filed in the sheriff's race.
Those names were among 42 that came up in the challenge, filed by Jon Kinney, who lost the election by 16 votes to Gator DeLoach.
The judge heard evidence in the case last month and said he would rule later, but has not yet done so.
There could be more voters purged, as the reviewing process is ongoing, officials said.
Kinney's suit claims 42 votes were fraudulently cast: 32 votes by convicted felons who have not had their voting rights restored, three ballots from people listed as deceased, three ballots from people who are not residents of Putnam County, two ballots received after Election Day, one ballot from a Putnam County resident who also voted in New Jersey and one from a person ruled mentally incompetent.
Kinney has asked a judge to void the election and declare him the sheriff.
Initial elections results showed Kinney with an 18-vote lead over DeLoach. But during a recount, 428 additional ballots were found that had not been entered into the voting machines. When the recount was done, DeLoach was ahead by 16 votes. He was sworn into office in January.
Kinney quickly filed a legal challenge to the election, accusing Putnam County elections officials and members of the Putnam County Canvassing Board of misconduct.
DeLoach said he is confident he was lawfully elected.
Circuit Judge Gary Wilkinson did not say when he would rule on the challenge. If he finds Kinney's complaint valid, Wilkinson could throw out the 428 ballots, which would give the race to Kinney; the judge could void the election and call on the governor to appoint an interim sheriff until the next general election in 2018; or the judge could order a new election.