The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Florida Trump supporters arrested on charges of casting more than one vote in 2020 election

Golf carts line up in Lake Sumter Landing Market Square in The Villages, Fla., in March 2020. (Eve Edelheit for The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

Three Central Florida residents who have expressed support for former president Donald Trump were recently arrested following reports that they cast more than one vote during the 2020 election, according to various Florida news media outlets.

Jay Ketcik, John Rider and Joan Halstead, who all live in The Villages in Sumter County, Fla., face felony charges and up to five years in prison for allegedly casting more than one ballot in the most recent presidential contest, according to county arrest records.

The three were jailed after Sumter County Supervisor of Elections Bill Keen launched a probe of allegations of voting irregularities, according to prosecutors. Keen is not commenting on the cases, given the ongoing criminal investigation.

The three did not respond immediately to efforts to reach them for comment.

It remains unknown who the voters backed in 2020. Ketcik, 63, and Halstead, 71, are both registered Republicans. While Rider, 61, is not affiliated with a political party, there are pro-Donald Trump posts on his Facebook page. Halstead’s Facebook page also features posts favoring the former president. And a Facebook page belonging to Ketcik also showed support for Trump, although that page appears to have been deleted, according to Orlando’s CBS affiliate.

More than a year after the 2020 election, Trump repeatedly makes false claims that his loss to Joe Biden was the result of widespread voter fraud, allegations that have been debunked by numerous courts and state reviews.

Prosecutors say Rider cast ballots in Florida and elsewhere, although details about where else he voted were not clear at the time of his arrest. According to prosecutors, Halstead voted in person in Florida in addition to casting an absentee ballot in New York. Ketcik voted by mail in Florida along with casting an absentee ballot in Michigan, prosecutors say.

It is not a crime to be registered in more than one state, but it is unlawful to cast a ballot in multiple states. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who previously declined to respond to questions about whether he thinks the 2020 election was rigged, has spoken out against voter fraud — a crime that multiple reports have shown to be rare. DeSantis is proposing a new state office to investigate election fraud.

In May, DeSantis enthusiastically embraced Trump’s demand for tougher election rules, signing into law a slew of new voting restrictions in a live broadcast, despite previously touting how smoothly his state’s elections ran in 2020.

DeSantis hailed the measure as necessary to shore up public faith in elections, but critics accused him of trying to make it harder to vote, particularly for people of color. The Florida measure adds hurdles to voting by mail, restricts the use of drop boxes and prohibits any actions that could influence those standing in line to vote, which voting rights advocates said is likely to discourage nonpartisan groups from offering food or water to voters as they wait.