A total of 42 ineligible voters went to the polls in Putnam County, Fla., according to a Thursday report from the Florida Times-Union.
The ineligible votes came from deceased persons, convicted felons, or people who weren’t registered residents of the state of Florida, according to the report.
The election in question was a local sheriff’s race between Sheriff Homer DeLoach, a Democrat, and Jonathan Kinney, a Republican. DeLoach won the race in 2016 by only 16 votes.
The original tally showed that Kinney led by 18 votes, but a state-mandated audit revealed that as many as 430 ballots didn’t appear in the original count because they weren’t uploaded to the county’s server on election night.
“There’s no fraud. There’s nobody adding ballots. There were no ballots sitting in somebody’s car,” County Elections Supervisor Charles Overturf, a Democrat, told the Times-Union in November.
DeLoach won the race after the votes were added.
Kinney formally filed a challenge to the election results, and the ensuing investigation revealed that as many as 42 votes were cast illegally, opening the door for Kinney to demand that DeLoach be formally removed from office.
DeLoach claims that even if those ballots were improperly cast, it’s impossible to guess which direction the votes went, asserting that should Kinney win in court, a special election would need to be held immediately.
“I understand that the public wants to know why I filed this election contest,” Kinney said in a statement provided by his attorney in December.
“It is imperative that the public have the trust of their elected officials and their democratic system of government. To that end, I believe I am obliged to contest this election when the results of the sheriff’s election were certified on the basis of votes from convicted felons.”
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