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Lawyer says ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin illegally voted in Florida

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

By KATIE RICE | Orlando Sentinel | Published: June 6, 2020

ORLANDO, Fla. (Tribune News Service) —  A man running for election supervisor in Pinellas County is asking the Orange-Osceola state attorney to pursue charges against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, alleging he voted illegally in two Florida elections.

Dan Helm, a Democrat and attorney, sent Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala a letter notifying her of Chauvin's voting record.

"While living in Minnesota, working there, paying taxes there, Derek Chauvin cannot claim residency in Orange County. His home, residency and where he intends to live is in Minnesota, not Florida," Helm wrote.

His letter cites the Florida statute prohibiting false swearing and the submission of false voter registration information, adding that violation of the statute is a third-degree felony.

"I encourage you to hold people accountable for their actions, especially breaking the laws of our state," Helm wrote.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson from the state attorney's office said the supervisor of elections is responsible for launching investigations into voter fraud and election crimes.

Ayala's office contacted Bill Cowles, Orange County supervisor of elections, who confirmed Chauvin's voting registration and history, the statement read.

"Upon receipt of information from a Minnesota authority that supports a violation of Florida law we will proceed accordingly," the statement said. "Until then, I will remain focused on the unrest in my community recently triggered by Mr. Chauvin's killing of George Floyd and work to find a solution to the systemic injustice communities of color continue to live with and die by."

A search of Chauvin's voter status in Florida shows he registered to vote Republican in Orange County at his Windermere-area address in January 2016. His registration is active. Election records show he voted in the 2016 and 2018 general elections.

In a phone interview, Helm said he researched Chauvin's voting record after learning he owned property locally. When he saw Chauvin had voted in Florida, he was "outraged," he said.

"It's a third-degree felony," he said. "I just hope that (Ayala) investigates it and then decides whether she wants to prosecute. Obviously, prosecution in Minnesota is important, but also if he's violating laws in Florida, everybody should be held responsible for their actions."

Helm announced his candidacy for Pinellas supervisor of elections on May 5, according to county records. His website summarizes his platform in three statements: "1. Follow The Law 2. Access To The Polls By Expanding Early Voting 3. Access To The Ballot By Expanding Vote-By-Mail."

Chauvin is facing a second-degree murder charge in Floyd's death after he was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

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Staff writer Adelaide Chen contributed to this report.

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