In an unprecedented turn of events, charges against Marsha Ervin, a 69-year-old African-American woman from Tallahassee, Florida, have been dropped. Ervin was arrested last month on allegations of voter fraud, but subsequent information has compromised the state’s ability to proceed further with the case.
Ervin was arrested at her home in the middle of the night on September 29, based on information from a Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security investigation. She was charged with one count of submission of false voter registration information and two counts of voting as an unqualified elector in Florida during the 2020 and 2022 elections.
Ervin, who was on probation for a prior felony conviction, voted in the elections despite not having her voting rights restored by the state. However, her probation officer provided documents that supported her claims of believing she could legally vote. The terms of her probation that she signed in 2018 did not explicitly mention her ineligibility to vote, creating confusion.
State Attorney Jack Campbell, in a filing on Tuesday, stated that there was no witness who could testify that Ervin was told she was ineligible to vote. He also noted that there was evidence to corroborate Ervin’s assertions that she believed she could lawfully vote.
Ervin’s case has sparked controversy and raised questions about the voting system in Florida. Civil rights activists and state democratic leadership argue that her case highlights the confusion that many people with felony convictions face when trying to navigate voting laws. They have accused the state of voter intimidation and discrimination, demanding that all charges against Ervin be dropped.
Prosecutors consulted with the Leon County supervisor of elections, who described Ervin’s voting as an innocent mistake. The supervisor of elections, Mark Earley, believes that Ervin may have been registered by a third-party group that sends out official-looking registration forms.
Ervin’s attorney, Mutaqee Akbar, expressed relief that the charges were dropped and hopes that it will serve as a cautionary tale for investigators to focus on more significant cases of voter fraud. He emphasized the need to protect innocent individuals like Ervin from facing unnecessary legal consequences.
The dropping of charges against Ervin comes amidst a crackdown on ineligible voting in Florida. Critics argue that this policy of voter intimidation disproportionately impacts marginalized communities and creates barriers to democratic participation.
Overall, Ervin’s case highlights the complexities and challenges of the voting system, particularly for individuals with felony convictions. It raises important questions about the need for clearer communication and support to ensure that eligible individuals are able to exercise their right to vote without fear of legal repercussions.
0. “Florida DA Drops Fraud Charges Against 69-Year-Old Woman Who Voted While on Parole” The Messenger, 20 Oct. 2023, https://themessenger.com/news/voter-fraud-florida-da-drops-charges-69-year-old-woman-parole-tallahassee
1. “Charges dropped against Florida woman, 69, accused of voter fraud” TheGrio, 19 Oct. 2023, https://thegrio.com/2023/10/19/marsha-ervin-voter-fraud-charges-dropped-florida/
2. “Black Woman Who Was Victim of Desantis’ Voting Fraud Law Has Charges Dropped” Yahoo News, 22 Oct. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/black-woman-victim-desantis-voting-205021614.html
3. “Voter Fraud Charges Dropped Against Black Woman In Tallahassee” BET, 19 Oct. 2023, https://www.bet.com/article/d83zj5/voter-fraud-charges-dropped-black-woman-tallahassee
4. “A sketchy 2020 registration drive likely led to the now-dropped voting fraud charges against Marsha Ervin” WFSU News, 18 Oct. 2023, https://news.wfsu.org/wfsu-local-news/2023-10-18/a-sketchy-2020-registration-drive-likely-led-to-the-now-dropped-voting-fraud-charges-against-69-year-old-marsha-ervin
5. “Voter Fraud Charges Dropped Against Elderly Florida Woman Due to Legal Confusion” West Island Blog, 19 Oct. 2023, https://www.westislandblog.com/voter-fraud-charges-dropped-against-elderly-florida-woman-due-to-legal-confusion