MIAMI – Vote tampering went to Florida Department of Law Enforcement in early November: Someone had access to the electronic accounts without authorization. At least 117 votes were cast suspiciously – in the JM Tate High School election for the court to go home.
It’s a case reminiscent of the 1999 dark comedy “Election”.
Department employees arrested Laura Carroll, 50, and her daughter, Emily Grover, 17, on Monday and charged them with conspiring to use Miss Carroll’s school district credentials to help Ms. Grover. was elected queen to return home.
A five-month investigation found that the credentials of Ms. Carroll, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School near Pensacola, were used to access the internal accounts of 372 Tate High School students. from August. Accounts include personal information such as student grades, medical history, and disciplinary records.
Students use the same account with an app to vote on homework.
Ms. Grover often talks about retrieving student information using her mother’s credentials, eight students, and a teacher speaking in witness testimony.
“She looked up all the scores of our group of friends and made comments on how she could find our checkpoints all the time,” said one of the witnesses, according to the affidavit. arrested.
Escambia County School District employees must change their password to log in to the internal system every 45 days.
A witness told agents that Ms. Grover had said she knew using her mother’s credentials would result in a “ping” showing Ms. Carroll logged in at Tate High. Officers interviewed Ms. Carroll in November and came knocking on her door last month to talk more, but she introduced them to her attorney, according to her arrest statement.
According to police records, Ms. Grover was deported, a decision the family disputed, but the deportation remained. Carroll has been suspended from work, Tim Smith, the director of Escambia public schools, said in an email. He declined to comment further.
Ms. Carroll was arrested on Monday and was released on bail for $ 8,500. Ms. Grover was sent to juvenile detention centers for assessment, according to the Law Enforcement Department.
Through her attorney, Ms. Carroll declined to comment. Attorney Randall J. Etheridge said: “She wants to bring out the side of her story, but maybe after we finish the case.
The district’s election contractor contacted school administrators in October after flagging more than 100 votes that were briefly voted, all from the same single IP address. The student council coordinator also heard reports that Ms. Grover had bragged about using her mother’s login information to access a student’s account during the election, according to witnesses.
Investigators then determined via IP address that 124 votes had been dropped from Carroll’s phone, and 122 from the whereabouts of Carroll and Grover.
On October 30, Ms. Grover was elected as queen to her homeland.
Jack Begg has contributed research.