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Two charged with election fraud in Lake City council race

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An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation led two Lake City women to turn themselves in on charges of election fraud this week.

The allegations stemmed from the election of Eugene Jefferson to the District 10 City Council seat. Linda Ivery and Betty Jefferson, Eugene Jefferson’s wife, were released on their own recognizance from the Columbia County Jail Tuesday.

Jefferson has been charged with 24 felony and two misdemeanor counts of election law violations, and Ivery is facing six felony and two misdemeanor counts for violating election law, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

According to the release, Jefferson and Ivery allegedly asked voters to sign completed absentee ballots and attempted to influence others to sign absentee ballots.

Columbia County Supervisor of Elections Liz Horne said the complaints are not filed through their office but go directly to the state. She said the allegations relate to the 2010 election of Eugene Jefferson. She said they triple-check everything during the election process, and they have not yet heard from the city how this will affect his position.

Audrey Sikes, city clerk for Lake City, said she is unsure how the allegations will affect the councilman but that if he is not charged with any violations, he will not be removed from office.

According to a News21 voter fraud database, Florida has had 39 cases of alleged voter fraud since 2000. Voter fraud is the category with the most fraud allegations.

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