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4th resident of The Villages charged with casting multiple ballots

Man not affiliated with political party when accused of voting twice

4th resident of The Villages arrested for allegedly casting multiple ballots

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – A fourth resident of The Villages has been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into voter fraud, according to a report from News4JAX sister station WKMG in Orlando.

Charles Franklin Barnes, 64, was booked into the Sumter County jail Tuesday night on a charge of casting more than one ballot in an election, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Barnes was later released from custody on a $2,000 bond, records show.

Court records detailing Barnes’ alleged crime were not immediately available.

Voter registration records show Barnes was not affiliated with a political party in Florida when he voted in the 2020 election.

Barnes was also registered to vote in his original home state of Connecticut in 2020, records show.

Three other residents of The Villages have also been arrested recently for allegedly casting ballots in both Florida and their original home states.

John Rider, Jay Ketcik and Joan Halstead have pleaded not guilty to the charges. All three were registered as Republicans at the time of the 2020 election, voter records show.

Anonymous emails sent to Florida’s Secretary of State in May by someone using the pseudonym “Totes Legit Votes” prompted the voter fraud investigation, court records obtained show.

The self-described “citizen election integrity analyst” reportedly used publicly available voter registration data to identify numerous Florida voters who may have also cast ballots in other states.

“I believe that if hundreds of people sign sworn affidavits that they saw election irregularities, people should at least try to check into it,” the anonymous tipster told WKMG. “You can’t claim ‘the system is working’ if random internet people have to find the violations for you.”

Mark Ard, a spokesperson for Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, has not answered questions submitted by WKMG last month inquiring about the state’s response to the anonymous emails identifying possible voter fraud.


About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.