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Man accused of illegally voting in pair of elections

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2001

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Sheriff's deputies arrested a 38-year-old man Tuesday they say voted illegally in 1996 and 1998 when he was not a U.S. citizen.

Andrew Gomez, of 3915 Allen Road in Zephyrhills, faces a felony charge of an unqualified elector willfully voting.

Gomez, who posted $5,000 bail the day of his arrest, disputed the charge Wednesday. He said he immigrated from India years ago and has the papers to prove him innocent.

"My papers have been filed," he said. "I shouldn't have any problems."

Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Kurt Browning said he was tipped off to the apparent infraction last fall, before the presidential election, and tried to contact Gomez.

When Gomez didn't respond to his letter, Browning said he referred the case to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office for prosecution.

Someone who votes, knowing they are not qualified, is guilty of a third-degree felony, according to state law, Browning said. A third-degree felony carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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