Homecoming Queen at Center of Alleged Voter Fraud in Florida 

After a long political season in the United States, where “voter fraud” was often the cry above a noisy campaign, a case has emerged in Florida involving the alleged illegal election of a high school homecoming queen.  Homecoming queens are the stars of the show at the end of football season in October or November, elected by their high school peers in a popularity contest that can linger a lifetime. Teenage queens and kings arrive dressed in gowns and tiaras and tuxedos, and with a large bouquet of flowers and sashes in one hand declaring their status, wave from their perch on the back of a convertible that slowly circles a hometown football field, usually under tall bright lights.  But the homecoming queen at Tate High School in Florida, along with her mother, are accused of rigging the election and stealing dozens of votes in the girl’s favor. An investigation into Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her daughter, 17, is looking into whether Carroll — who has been suspended from her job as an assistant principal in the Escambia County school system — hacked into electronic school records in October 2020 and voted nearly 250 times from two IP addresses for her daughter’s candidacy, according to state law enforcement officials.  The homecoming votes weren’t the only files accessed. Court documents show the accounts concerning student grades, attendance, medical history and other personal and proprietary information had been hacked.  The mother and daughter were arrested Monday. They face one count each of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices (a third-degree felony), unlawful use of a two-way communications device (a third-degree felony), criminal use of personally identifiable information (a third-degree felony) and conspiracy to commit these offenses (a first-degree misdemeanor), according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) statement published on its website Monday. “Multiple students reported that the daughter described using her mother’s FOCUS  account to cast votes,” according to the FDLE statement. The investigation also found that Carroll had accessed 372 high school records, of which 339 were of Tate High School students. FOCUS is the school’s online student portal. “I have known that [Carroll’s daughter] logs into her mom’s school account in order to access grades and test scores since freshman year when we became friends,” said one witness in court documents. “She looks up our group of friends’ grades and makes comments about how she can find out our test scores all the time.” A second witness said they recalled “times when [Carroll’s daughter] logged onto her mom’s FOCUS account and openly shared information, grades, schedules, etc. with others. She did not seem like logging in was a big deal and was very comfortable doing so.” Carroll was booked into the Escambia County Jail on Monday, according to the FDLE and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. She was later released on $8,500 bond, according to the FDLE. Her daughter was being held in the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center.  

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