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Three Things To Know About Eatonville’s Voter Fraud Allegations

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(L to R: Councilman Theo Washington; Councilman Eddie Cole; Mayor Anthony Grant; Councilman Rodney Daniels at the Eatonville Town Council Meeting on Tuesday night.) Photo: Renata Sago.

(L to R: Councilman Theo Washington; Councilman Eddie Cole; Mayor Anthony Grant; Councilman Rodney Daniels at the Eatonville Town Council Meeting.) Photo: Renata Sago.

What’s been happening with Eatonville’s mayor?

Eatonville mayor Anthony Grant and two others—Mia Antionette Nowells and James Randolph—face felony charges based on 25 counts that range from interfering with voter registration and unlawfully marking ballots to voter intimidation and voter fraud. Over six months, a grand jury heard from witnesses including Eatonville residents and officials. They said Grant, Nowells and Randolph had people who didn’t live in Eatonville cast ballots in the historically black town’s municipal elections last March. After the elections, there was a lawsuit and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement stepped in.

What are residents saying about what’s happened?

They aren’t say much—openly, that is. Here’s what one resident said outside the town hall:

RESIDENT: No comment. No comment.

SAGO: Why not comment?

RESIDENT: I just don’t want to talk about it.

That’s what many others said along Kennedy Boulevard, the town’s main street, during a recent trip there. Some people hesitate to speak with the press because of general mistrust about how the town might be portrayed; others haven’t been in the town long enough to really feel that they something important to say; and others just don’t want to be bothered.

The town’s former mayor, Abraham Gordon, has been quite vocal about Grant, however. He said he’s not at all surprised the indictment came down.                         

“There have been some things that have been happening in this town that really haven’t been good for the town. Let me say it like that.”

So, who’s running the town now?

Eatonville’s chief administrative officer, Roger Dixon, has stepped in. He is intent on separating day-to-day operations from the politics.

NY Nathiri, head of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, said, in a broader context, the town is serving as an example of what she calls “the integrity of the electoral process.” In other words, Grant will have his day in court and so will the witnesses who testified against him. Here she warns people from using this incident to label the town.

“We are very concerned that on one feel that Eatonville is getting ready to disintegrate or—what do you say?—devolve into chaos.”

The town is continuing to hold council meetings and conduct business as usual. Eatonville could have special elections, but it’ll be up to Orange County’s Board of Elections and the Eatonville Canvassing Board to make that decision.


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About Renata Sago

Renata Sago