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Donna Prentes Brady. (Photo: Donna Prentes Brady via Facebook).

Woman arrested for voting twice in 2020 election

Florida Election Crimes Unit sought help from New Jersey last summer

By David Wildstein, March 16 2023 7:03 pm

Sussex County had been cooperating with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation of Donna Prentes Brady, a 66-year-old Sussex Borough woman arrested this week for voting in New Jersey and Florida in the 2020 primary and general elections, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

The Florida Election Crimes Unit established by Gov. Ron DeSantis to crack down on voter fraud reached out to Sussex County in July 2022, requesting all documents related to Brady’s voter registration and voting records.  The county provided Florida officials with her registration, voter history, and copies of the sample ballots for the two elections where she allegedly voted twice.

In 2021, Brady requested vote-by-mail ballots for all future elections in New Jersey, records show, but was moved to inactive voter status in July 2021 after her primary election ballot was returned to Sussex County as undeliverable.

She contacted the Board of Election to say that she was away, and in October 2021, her active voter status was restored.    This occured after she had already voted in Florida.

There was at least one other red flag in Sussex County in 2020: a recently-divorced woman registered to vote under a new name but remained an active voter under her former name.  She cast separate votes under both names in the same election, but prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against her.

The extra vote did not impact the outcome of any election, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, cautioned against concluding that Brady was part of a mass conspiracy to steal an election.

“Our voting system is working.  It is catching those for whom one, equal vote is not enough,” he said.  “Thankfully, those cases are small in number, and we know this because there are lots of people looking for fraud, and these incidents are notable for how rare they are.”

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office has not yet responded to an inquiry about whether New Jersey will also prosecute Brady for illegally casting a ballot in the state.

Brady was a super voter in New Jersey, voting in every primary and every general between 2013 and 2020.  She also rotated between political parties, voting Democratic in 2014 and 2015, Republican in 2016, Democratic in 2017, Republican in 2018, and Democratic in 2019 and 2020.  By 2021, she had become an unaffiliated voter; this type of voter activity would have required Brady to proactively file changes in party registrations at least five times in nine years.

While voting in the July 2020 Democratic primary in New Jersey, she also voted in the September 2020 Republican primary in Florida.  She registered to vote in Marion County, Florida, in 2020.

She did not vote in New Jersey in 2021 or 2022.

Property tax records show Brady still owns her home in Sussex.  Records in Florida indicate that she inherited the Ocala home from her late father in 2018.

“In a federal system of decentralized elections, there will always be a risk of someone trying to vote in more than one place.  But the alternative of a centralized voting system carries its own risk of being corrupted wholesale,” Rasmussen said.  “An across-the-board problem would be virtually impossible to pull off across the nation’s more than 3,000 counties.”

Brady did not return a 1:34 PM call to her cell phone.

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