🗳 A Sussex County woman is charged with third-degree crimes for double voting

☑ She voted by mail in NJ and in person in Fla. twice in 2020, officials say

❎ Both states prohibit voting twice in the same election

A woman with homes in both New Jersey and Florida has been busted for double voting in 2020, in both the primary and general elections.

Florida law enforcement said 66-year-old Donna Prentes Brady was arrested on Monday in Ocala, Florida, on one count of false swearing of voter registration information and two counts of unqualified electors willfully voting, all third-degree felonies.

Brady has a residence in Sussex Borough, according to property records.

“It is both a state and federal crime to knowingly cast more than one ballot in an election. Voters should know that crimes like this are rare and that those who commit them are subject to criminal prosecution,” New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said in a written response on Thursday.

Sussex County Board of Elections (Google Maps)
Sussex County Board of Elections (Google Maps)

🗳 NJ county official says election crimes and voter fraud are ‘very rare’

“The Sussex County Board of Elections takes election crimes very seriously. We worked with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by providing the documentation they needed in their investigation into Ms. Brady's voting records in 2020,” Sussex County Board of Elections Chief Clerk Administrator Ellen Griffiths said in a written response to New Jersey 101.5.

Election crimes and voter fraud are “very rare” in the county, Griffiths continued, adding “this is the first one I've encountered in my 12 years with Sussex County.”

She added that staff at the Sussex County Board of Elections “work diligently to protect the integrity of every election.”

Explaining Election 2020

NJ woman was ‘super voter’, never skipped an election for 7 years, report says

Brady voted in person as a registered Republican in Marion County, Florida and by mail as a registered Democrat in Sussex County in 2020, according to the Daily Voice, which cited an affidavit of probable cause.

She had waffled between political party affiliation, according to records cited by New Jersey Globe, filing amended voter registrations between primary elections and voting Democratic in 2014 and 2015, Republican in 2016, Democratic in 2017, Republican in 2018 and Democratic in 2019 and 2020.

She then declared herself an unaffiliated voter, the same report said, which added that Brady earned “super voter” status by casting ballots in every election between 2013 and 2020.

Both New Jersey and Florida are among 32 states and Washington, D.C., that prohibit voting twice in the same election.

Neither was among 13 states that go a step further with a specific law that bans voting in more than one state in the same election.

Those states as of fall 2022 were: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

The federal Voting Rights Act also prohibits “voting more than once.”

(NJ Department of State)
(NJ Department of State)

Double voting hard to prosecute, analysts say

Such cases have been historically challenging to prosecute, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

An appeals court overturned one woman’s conviction for casting ballots in both Colorado and Arizona in 2015 — noting that different candidates were running at the state, county and municipal levels in the same mid-term, general election, as recapped by the NCSL, which also said that states need to do a better job at cross-referencing voter data.

“An ever-increasing number of states are participating in cross checks with other states to help identify voters who have moved, which can help with identifying potential duplicate registrations and by extension, double voters,” according to the NCSL.

In 2020, President Donald Trump received criticism after suggesting that voters intentionally try to vote twice in the same election, once by mail and once in person, to “check their vote.”

“Let ‘em send it in and let ‘em go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” Trump said while on the tarmac at a North Carolina airport, as previously reported by Politico.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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