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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Villager who supported Trump ordered into civics class in election fraud case

Joan Halstead
Joan Halstead

A 73-year-old Villager who supported Donald Trump has been ordered back to civics class in a court deal aimed at avoiding prosecution in an election fraud case.

Joan Marie Halstead, of the Village of Palo Alto, entered into a pre-trial intervention contract Wednesday in Sumter County Court.

Halstead was accused of casting a 2020 general election ballot on Oct. 20, 2020 in person in Sumter County. She also cast a second ballot in New York by absentee, according to court documents She is a registered Republican and her social media activity suggests she is a supporter of former President Trump.

As part of the deal, Halstead must receive a grade of C or better in a class based on the “We the People; the Citizen and the Constitution” textbook and taught by Doug Oswald. The class will meet for two hours each week for 12 weeks. She must pay for all classroom materials.

Halstead was also ordered to perform 50 hours of community service, however the contract specifies she may “use verified hours previously served with veteran’s organizations.”

She also agreed to pay $250 in court costs and $150 for the cost of prosecution.

She is the third Villager ordered into civics class as a result of election fraud charges. The others are:

Jay Richard Ketcik, 64, of the Village of Monarch Grove, was charged with voter fraud in connection with the 2020 presidential election. The Manistique, Mich. native cast a ballot in Florida by mail on Oct. 13, 2020. He also cast a second ballot in Michigan via absentee ballot, according to an arrest report. He is a registered Republican. In addition to enrolling in the same civics class, he conceded that “the first step in rehabilitation is the admission of his wrongdoing.”

  Charles Franklin Barnes, 64, who lives in the Callahan Villas in the Village of Osceola Hills, was accused of casting more than one ballot in the 2020 election. He was registered with No Party Affiliation. At the time, he had a primary address in Milford, Conn.

A fourth Villager charged with election fraud is still awaiting his fate. John Rider, 61, of the Village of Virginia Trace, cast his ballot in person during early voting Oct. 28, 2020 in Sumter County. He also cast an absentee ballot in New York, according to an arrest document. He is due back in Sumter County Court in December.

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