Claims of stolen elections may make some rush to cover their ears. Still, it seems at least one significant vote last year really was rigged.
An assistant principal in Florida has been accused of hacking into school computers to swing a homecoming queen election in her daughter’s favor.
Laura Rose Carroll, 50, was arrested Monday for allegedly using her privileged access to the Escambia County School District’s internal system to cast fraudulent votes for her 17-year-old daughter Emily Rose Grover, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.
The teen, who became Tate High School’s 2020 homecoming queen last fall, was also arrested for her alleged role in the fraud.
An investigation into the election started last October after hundreds of votes for the school’s Homecoming Court were flagged as phony, with 117 of them originating from the same IP address.
Detectives discovered that Carroll and her daughter had allegedly accessed several student FOCUS accounts – the name for the school district’s student information system.
Evidence of unauthorized access showed that 246 votes had been cast from accounts accessed either by computers inside the mom and daughter’s Pensacola home or from Carroll’s cellphone, according to the FDLE news release.
Multiple students also told investigators that Carroll’s daughter had bragged about using her mother’s FOCUS account to cast votes.
The mother and daughter were each hit with a slew of charges, including unlawful use of a two-way communications device and criminal use of personally identifiable information.
District Superintendent Tim Smith told the Pensacola News Journal that Carroll had been suspended from her job at Bellview Elementary School but declined to comment further on the case. Her daughter has also been expelled from her high school.
Carroll was booked into the Escambia County Jail on $8,500 bond, while her daughter was taken to the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
It’s unclear who came second in the allegedly stolen race, but they may do well to recall the words of the former President: “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”