Florida Finds Election Fraud in High School Homecoming Votes

Florida Finds Election Fraud in High School Homecoming Votes
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Florida Finds Election Fraud in High School Homecoming Votes

Florida Finds Election Fraud in High School Homecoming Votes

MIAMI — The report about vote tampering reached the Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement in early November: Somebody had gained entry to digital accounts with out authorization. A minimum of 117 votes had been suspiciously forged — in J.M. Tate High School’s election for homecoming court docket.

It was a case harking back to the 1999 darkish comedy movie “Election.”

Division brokers arrested Laura Carroll, 50, and her daughter, Emily Grover, 17, on Monday and charged them with conspiracy to make use of Ms. Carroll’s college district login to assist Ms. Grover get elected homecoming queen.

Credit score…The Escambia County Division of Corrections

A five-month investigation discovered that the login for Ms. Carroll, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School close to Pensacola, was used to realize entry to the inner accounts of 372 Tate High college students since August. The accounts embrace private data resembling college students’ grades, medical historical past and disciplinary data.

College students use the identical accounts with an software to forged votes for homecoming.

Ms. Grover usually spoke about acquiring college students’ data utilizing her mom’s login, eight college students and one instructor stated in witness statements.

“She appears up all of our group of buddies’ grades and makes feedback about how she will discover our take a look at scores all the time,” one of many witnesses stated, based on the arrest affidavits.

Escambia County School District workers are supposed to alter their password to log in to the inner system each 45 days.

One witness informed the brokers that Ms. Grover had stated she knew utilizing her mom’s login would consequence in a “ping” that confirmed that Ms. Carroll had logged on at Tate High. Brokers interviewed Ms. Carroll in November and knocked on her door final month to speak additional, however she referred them to her lawyer, based on her arrest affidavit.

Ms. Grover was expelled, based on police data, a call that the household contested, however the expulsion was upheld. Ms. Carroll was suspended from her job, Tim Smith, the superintendent of the Escambia public colleges, stated in an e mail. He declined to remark additional.

Ms. Carroll was taken into custody on Monday and launched on $8,500 bail. Ms. Grover was despatched to juvenile detention for an analysis, based on the Division of Legislation Enforcement.

Via her lawyer, Ms. Carroll declined to remark. “She’d love to provide out her facet of the story, however it could most likely be after we resolve the case,” the lawyer, Randall J. Etheridge, stated.

The college district’s elections contractor contacted college directors in October after flagging greater than 100 votes that had been forged in a brief time period, all from the identical distinctive IP handle. The scholar council coordinator additionally heard stories that Ms. Grover had boasted about utilizing her mom’s login to get into college students’ accounts throughout the election, based on witness statements.

Investigators later decided by IP addresses that 124 votes had been forged from Ms. Carroll’s cellphone, and 122 from Ms. Carroll’s and Ms. Grover’s residence.

On Oct. 30, Ms. Grover was elected homecoming queen.

Jack Begg contributed analysis.

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