Florida teen & mother arrested for rigging votes in homecoming queen election


PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – A teenager in Florida has been accused of rigging a homecoming queen election along with her mother. The teen has been charged as an adult according to prosecutors.

In March, Emily Rose was 17 when she got arrested. She turned 18 in April. On Tuesday, the State Attorney’s Office in Escambia County confirmed that Grover will be tried as an adult.

Grover and her mother, Laura Rose Carroll, 50, face multiple felony charges stemming from the October homecoming vote at Tate High School in Pensacola.

Laura Rose Carroll was an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School. According to officials, Carroll accessed the school district’s internal system to cast fraudulent votes for her daughter so that she would win.

The investigation began in November when the Escambia County School District reported unauthorized access into hundreds of student accounts, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In October, Investigators found that hundreds of votes for the school’s homecoming court were flagged as fraudulent. The investigation found that there were 117 votes from the same IP address within a short period of time.

That’s when investigators found evidence of unauthorized access to the system linked to Carroll’s cellphone and computers at her home. They were 246 votes cast for homecoming court from those devices.

Multiple Tate students told investigators that Grover described using her mother’s system access, or of watching her mother access records, for years, the report said. Investigators learned that since August 2019, Carroll’s account accessed 372 high school records and 339 of those were Tate students.

Investigators said Carroll had district-level access to the school board’s program. System users are required to change their password every 45 days, and Carroll’s annual training for the “Staff Responsible Use of Guidelines for Technology” was up to date, the agency said.

Officials have confirmed that Carroll was suspended from her job, but it wasn’t immediately clear if she has been fired. Authorities said Grover was expelled from Tate High School.

Each is charged with offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices; unlawful use of a two-way communications device; criminal use of personally identifiable information and conspiracy to commit those offenses.

Carroll remains free on a $6,000 bond, and Grover is free on a $2,000 bond. Prosecutors said the mother and daughter each face a maximum 16-year sentence.

Will these seats flip in 2022?


According to CNN, the following 5 seats are in danger during the 2022 senate elections:


Republican Marco Rubio

Former president Donald Trump’s endorsement of the incumbent likely removes one major headache that Sen. Marco Rubio could have faced: a Trumpier primary challenger, who, at the very least, could have cost Rubio some extra money defending himself, and in the worst case scenario for Republicans, put the seat at greater risk.
However with the former President (and Florida resident) behind Rubio, Republicans feel good about this seat even though Trump only carried the state by 3 points, less than he won Ohio. Rubio has a track record of success here, whereas Democrats don’t yet know their candidate. As a moderate with a compelling personal story, Blue Dog Coalition cho-chair Stephanie Murphy could make this race competitive. She’s considering but hasn’t entered the race yet, and while others could still get in too, the governor’s race may also attract some top talent.


Republican Pat Toomey 

As an open seat that Biden carried last fall, Pennsylvania remains the seat most likely to flip in 2022 with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey not running for reelection. Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman raised about $4 million in the first quarter — an impressive haul for the first three months of the off-year. However, the former Braddock mayor is still going to have competition for the Democratic nomination.
He got a reminder of that late last month when the current mayor of the western Pennsylvania town endorsed one of his opponents, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta from Philadelphia, who raised just $374,000 in the first quarter. The field is still growing, with Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh launching her campaign earlier this month.
Yet another Philadelphia politician, state Sen. Sharif Street, announced an exploratory committee, while members of the congressional delegation, like Reps. Conor Lamb, Chrissy Houlahan and Madeleine Dean, are eyeing the race, although they also have redistricting on their minds and would probably have to forgo reelection before knowing what their House districts look like in 2022. So far, it’s mainly businessman Jeff Bartos running on the Republican side, who raised about $792,000 and loaned his campaign $400,000 in the first quarter, although current and former members of the congressional delegation could still join that contest too, as could several former Trump officials. While Democrats may be contending with a messy primary, they see the wide interest in the seat as a sign of the opportunity to flip it.


Democrat Raphael Warnock

Months after twin Senate runoffs here flipped control of the Senate to Democrats, Georgia continues to be the center of the political universe, this time with a controversial election law that has led major corporations to boycott the state and the President to condemn it as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.” While voting rights advocates say the law makes it harder to vote for Black Georgians — a key part of Democrats’ winning constituency in this longtime red state — it may also embolden minority voters to turn out, which has traditionally been a problem for Democrats in midterms.
It could also inspire liberal donors to keep Georgia in their checkbooks, despite the state not being a presidential battleground this cycle. That would all be good news for Sen. Raphael Warnock, who won this seat by just 2 points in the January special runoff election and is running for a full six-year term. He’s already well-positioned financially, heading into the second quarter with $5.6 million in the bank.
However, Republicans argue that Warnock and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams — who may also be on the ballot next year if she runs for governor again — will be punished for the economic hit to the state from corporations siding with their opposition to the law and boycotting Georgia. The GOP field is still taking shape, but this is one place Republicans are on offense where they feel good about a deep bench of potential candidates. Warnock’s opponents from last fall, former Sen. Kelly Loeffler and former Rep. Doug Collins, are eyeing the race, and GOP Rep. Drew Ferguson — a member of House GOP leadership — may also be a contender.


 Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is facing her first reelection. On the Republican side, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, whom sources told CNN last month is considering it, is the name everyone’s waiting on.
He’s a former statewide elected official and could gain traction in a state Biden only narrowly carried last fall. Democrats argue, however, that Laxalt would be motivating to voters on the left since he’s been a Trump defender, helping bring various lawsuits over the 2020 election
Republicans admit their chances here will largely depend on what the environment looks like next year. Cortez Masto, meanwhile, fresh off a term as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, raised $2.3 million in the first quarter and has nearly $4.7 million in the bank.


Republican Rob Portman

While the Democratic field may be shrinking here, the Republican field is growing bigger — and messier — as candidates trip over each other to claim the Trump mantle in a state he won comfortably twice.
The most public sparring has been between former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and former state party chair Jane Timken, but there are others who are tying themselves to the former President, too. Businessman Bernie Moreno recently announced his campaign, touting the involvement of Kellyanne Conway and some other former Trump officials.
Businessman Mike Gibbons, who lost the 2018 primary to Mandel, launched another bid. And members of the delegation are still eyeing the race, like Rep. Mike Turner, who recently tweeted a polished bio video. Another big name who could shake up the race is “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance.
If he runs, he’ll benefit from a super PAC that Peter Thiel has already kicked $10 million into. On the Democratic side, former State Health Director Amy Acton, a Democrat who served in a GOP administration, has passed on the race, likely leaving Rep. Tim Ryan — who hasn’t yet officially launched — the biggest name. Republicans are relieved Acton is out and feel better about running against someone with a voting record. Ryan raised $1.2 million in the first quarter — an impressive sum for a House incumbent but less than the impressive sums some Senate Democratic challengers have recently posted.

DeSantis wants voters’ signatures to match

Governor DeSantis’s signature has evolved over time. Yet, he wants voter’s signatures to always be accurately matching.
According to handwriting experts,  no two signatures from one person are the same. It’s why Florida election officials for years have used all the signatures at their disposal. Sometimes, more than a dozen when they authenticate a voter’s signature on a mail-in ballot.

Governor DeSantis wants to rein in that long-standing practice. Vote-by-mail signatures “must match the most recent signature on file” with the state Department of Elections, DeSantis declared in February. A bill moving through the Florida Senate would make that the law.

Some election officials say limiting signature samples could make it harder to authenticate the identities of voters who choose to cast their ballot by mail.

Signatures change over time, they say, and are often affected by the choice of pen, the writing surface, fatigue, or a person’s health. A new requirement for a one-to-one match could lead to more rejected ballots.

Experts and election officials who reviewed Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature history for the Times said some of the modifications in his penmanship could have posed trouble for election workers, especially if constrained to one point of comparison.

In a handful of instances, it is possible the ballot could have been rejected, they said.

“It shows why it is better to have multiple signatures for review than to have one,” said Tom Vastrick, a forensic document examiner based in Apopka.

The proposal is part of a package of voting legislation that Florida Republicans are pushing this session to the state’s election system, even though DeSantis praised Florida for how it conducted its 2020 election. “The way Florida did it, I think inspires confidence, I think that’s how elections should be run,” DeSantis said at the time.

Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida, studies the application of voter signature matching laws. His research has shown counties often apply signature matching rules unevenly, and students and minorities are more likely to have their ballot rejected because of a mismatch.

“It’s really silly you would want to limit the signature to compare,” Smith said. DeSantis’ “own signatures show the reason for that.”

Instead of limiting signatures or relying on a digital facsimile, it would be more helpful to have people sign their name 10 times in ink when they register to vote, Vastrick said.

In response to these concerns, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia last week tweaked his voting bill to allow election officials to use a signature on file from the past four years. Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, said the limitation is needed “to make sure there wasn’t signature shopping where you would have 20 different signature iterations going back 20 years.”

State Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat, said the amended bill is “better than what we had before” but she added: “It’s trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.”

“Our poll workers have been trained to use multiple signatures,” she said, “and it seems wholly inefficient to be changing the procedures for them.”

According to Governor Ron DeSantis,  these measures are needed for election security. He has said less about why he wants to change the signature matching rules.

“If there need to be ways to bolster the signature verification, then we need to do that as well,” he said in February in West Palm Beach.

Smith said limiting signatures could have the opposite effect on election security. Fewer signatures mean less evidence to verify a positive match.

“If you’re interested in election integrity, wouldn’t you want more signatures to validate the one that is coming in?” Smith said. “Unless that is really not your intention.”

Ban on giving food or water to electors


Florida may ban outside bunches from giving food or water to electors remaining inside 150 feet of surveying places, an arrangement that is attracting correlations with a lot more extensive restriction remembered for a hostile political race bill as of late sanctioned in close by Georgia.

The top state House Republican who is pushing the enactment, FL HB7041 (21R), shielded the action on Monday, taking note of that state law as of now incorporates a “no-sales zone” close surveying places that bar crusades and political gatherings from moving toward citizens.

“It’s impacting the vote and that is the thing that we are attempting to stop since they are an enraptured crowd,” Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), the bill support, and the previous seat of the Republican Party of Florida, said at a meeting Monday. “The 150 feet territory should be a protected zone where they won’t be troubled by a mission.”

Ingoglia additionally said that nothing in the proposition would keep nearby political race managers from giving out water to individuals in line in the event that they needed it.

“I simply figure it ought to be a component of the public authority,” he said.

President Joe Biden a week ago completely scrutinized the broad new political decision measure endorsed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, alluding to the arrangement that banished somebody from offering water to electors as an “outrage.”

Georgia’s new law indicates that nobody can offer food or water “inside 25 feet of any citizen of elector remaining in line to cast a ballot at any surveying place” or inside 150 feet of the external edge of any surveying place.

Ingoglia said he has no designs to apply the limitation outside the “no requesting zone” and added that surveying places shouldn’t have long queues given the various ways the state permits individuals to cast a ballot, including early democratic and vote-via mail.

Notwithstanding a long-standing for messed up races, including the scandalous 2000 official relate, Florida’s balloting ran easily a year ago. At that point, President Donald Trump won the state by an agreeable edge by Florida guidelines.

Due to some extent to the Covid-19 pandemic, almost 44% of all Florida citizens cast polling forms via mail in 2020. Liberals, who have generally followed Republicans in utilizing early polling forms, overwhelmed Republicans this time around. More than 2.18 million Democrats utilized early voting forms contrasted with 1.5 million Republican electors.

However, Trump reliably reprimanded remote democratic as he rehashed unjustifiable allegations about elector misrepresentation. At first, Republican administrative pioneers said they didn’t see a requirement for any enormous changes. In any case, Gov. Ron DeSantis in late February approached legislators to pass a decision bill.

The state Senate has proposed a bill that would boycott the utilization of drop boxes, which permit electors to turn in their early polling forms straightforwardly to political race workplaces as opposed to utilizing the U.S. Postal Service. The Senate bill would likewise compel all citizens to resubmit vote-via mail demands for the 2022 decisions while simultaneously restricting the span of future solicitations.

Ingoglia’s enactment would keep drop encloses in place, however, it would require electors dropping off polling forms to introduce ID to utilize them. The action would likewise restrict who can drop off a voting form to a close relative or somebody who lives at a similar location.

Dark ministers assembled a week ago at the Capitol to ensure the forthcoming bills, saying they were intended to stifle minority citizens. Popularity-based officials have additionally completely impacted the political race proposition.

State Rep. Tracie Davis, a Jacksonville Democrat who used to work in the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office, called the restriction on giving out food and water inside the no-requesting zone as “making pointless obstacles and superfluous weights.”

Yet, Davis added that gatherings have regularly known about the zone and worked around it previously. She said she anticipated zeroing in on what she called more “intolerable” segments of the bill that get serious about remote democracy.

Heartland Parkway may go back on the shelf

Heartland Parkway

On Wednesday, The Senate Transportation Committee voted in favor of legislation to repeal the Multiuse Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M_CORES) legislation that was passed about two years ago. This can be seen as the first step in effectively killing three toll roads passed and a seminal achievement of former Senate President Bill Galvano.

It seems like Heartland Parkway may go back on the shelf.

A Stuart Republican and chair of the Transportation Committee, Senator Gayle Harrell said the budget challenges brought the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Senate to reevaluate the plans.

“We really had to readdress the fiscal impact and fiscal feasibility of these three major turnpikes throughout the state,” Harrell said.

The M-CORES plan passed in 2019 and was the top priority for Galvano to press through after he claimed the Senate President gavel. The legislation has authorized extending the Suncoast Parkway north to the Georgia state line; building out Florida’s Turnpike to the west to connect it with the Suncoast Parkway, and constructing a new transportation corridor extending from Polk to Collier County.

That new road connecting Central and Southwest Florida was seen as a return of the previously abandoned Heartland Parkway plan.

Beyond repealing the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance the bill is also reallocating much of the funding within the State Transportation Trust Fund.

Much of that will be used to upgrade rural roads and existing traffic corridors. That includes making improvements to U.S. 19 that Harrell believes will divert significant traffic off Interstate-75. While the specific financial impact of the legislation remains under review, Harrell believes the legislation will result in $132 million being returned to the trust.

The vote did not pass unanimously, but even that’s not much of a good sign for the toll roads on the chopping block. Senator Shev Jones, a Broward County Democrat, praise the move to leave the toll road plans behind but vote no while objecting to Harrell’s bill leaving out some of the environmental protections and assurance road construction won’t crave up communities of color that had been included in task force recommendations about M-CORES. Harrell promised to address those concerns as the bill progresses through the Senate.

The task force studying potential paths for the M-CORES toll roads called into question the economic feasibility of the plan last year as tax revenue streams began to crumble during the pandemic.