Officials: Woman accused of voting in Florida, Alaska

A South Florida woman was arrested Friday on charges that she voted in Florida and Alaska during the same election cycle for years.

Cheryl Ann Leslie, 55, of Loxahatchee, was charged with two felony counts of wire fraud, according to Palm Beach County Jail records.

Leslie, who is a registered Democrat, has voted in both the 2020 federal and state primaries in Florida and Alaska, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Leslie’s Alaska votes were cast by absentee ballot and her Florida votes were cast early and in person in Palm Beach County, officials said.

Leslie, who works at a senior care facility in Loxahatchee, told investigators that her job as a physician’s assistant required extensive interstate travel.

The Florida Secretary of State’s Office of Election Crime and Security initially discovered Leslie’s multistate vote and shared it with the FDLE’s Election Crimes Unit, officials said. Investigators said they found a pattern of double voting as Leslie voted in both states in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Leslie was being held on $1,000 bond. Jail records do not list an attorney.

Four people from the Republican stronghold of The Villages retirement community were arrested late last year and early this year on charges of voter fraud. Two were registered Republicans and two had no party affiliation, according to state voting records. Three of them have since pleaded guilty to more than one count and were sentenced to diversion programs that would have allowed them to avoid prison time. The fourth is awaiting trial.

During the last legislative session, Republican lawmakers approved an election police bill promoted by Gov. Ron DeSandis, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, citing unspecified cases of fraud. DeSantis echoed several talking points about voting problems that have gained traction in the GOP following former President Donald Trump’s false claims that he was robbed of his re-election.

In August, DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 convicted felons accused of voting illegally in the 2020 election. But voting advocates said the fact that the defendants were able to successfully register with their local election officials gave them a false sense of eligibility, therefore the cases were unfair.

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