Civics class, community service for voting fraud suspects

THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) — Two men from a sprawling retirement community in Florida will have to enter a pretrial intervention program, perform community service and attend adult civics classes in exchange for deferred prosecutions on their charges of voting more than once in the 2020 election.

Charles Barnes and Jay Ketcik, both from The Villages area, must perform 50 hours of community service each and get a grade of C or better in the adults civics class, according to court records filed last week.

In exchange, State Attorney William Gladson will defer prosecuting them on charges of casting more than one ballot in an election.

The men were among four people from the Republican stronghold of The Villages retirement community arrested late last year and early this year on voter fraud charges.

During the last legislative session, Republican lawmakers passed an election police bill pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, who justified its need by citing unspecified cases of fraud. DeSantis echoed many talking points on voting problems that have gained traction in the GOP after former President Donald Trump’s false claims that his reelection was stolen from him.

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