Florida Teen Who Rigged Her School's Homecoming Vote To Win Faces 16 Year Jail Sentence

Photo: Escambia County Jail
Florida Homecoming Queen Accused Of Rigging Votes Faces 16 Years In Prison

A Florida high school student accused of rigging a homecoming vote could face up to 16 years in prison as a court maintains the right to charge her as an adult

Emily Grover, a Pensacola teenager, was arrested in March, along with her mother, for allegedly casting hundreds of fraudulent votes in the homecoming queen elections at Tate High School

Grover was just 17 when she was arrested but turned 18 in April, making her eligible to be charged as an adult. 

What happened in the Florida homecoming scandal? 

Grover and her mother, Laura Carroll, were arrested on several charges, including unauthorized use of computers, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and criminal use of personally identifiable information.

Carroll is an assistant vice principal at the nearby Bellview Elementary School and it's alleged that the pair used Carroll’s special access to the district’s student data system to cast the votes for Grover. 

In November, the Escambia County School District's election software application flagged hundreds of homecoming votes as fraudulent, causing district staff to contact law enforcement. 

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation ultimately revealed 246 fraudulent votes had been cast across two devices, which Grover and Carroll are believed to have accessed. 

It was discovered that Carroll’s account had accessed 372 high school records at the beginning of August 2019 ahead of the vote, 339 of those were of Tate High School students.

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What is Emily Grover charged with after rigging her homecoming election? 

Carroll remains free on a $6,000 bond, and Grover is free on a $2,000 bond. Prosecutors said the mother and daughter each face a maximum 16-year sentence.

The full list of charges the women face are: 

  • Offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices (third-degree felony)
  • Unlawful use of a two-way communications device (third-degree felony)
  • Criminal use of personally identifiable information (third-degree felony)
  • Conspiracy to commit these offenses (first-degree misdemeanor)

Law enforcement also collected nine statements from students and teachers who said Grover openly talked about using her mother’s account to access student profiles. These witnesses had either heard Grover mention this or watched her log into the account multiple times over the course of four years. 

Grover was expelled from Tate High School, according to her arrest warrant, while her mother was suspended from her position, whether or not she will be terminated likely depends on the outcome of the ongoing trial.

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Why will Grover be charged as an adult?

As she is now 18, Grover will be charged as an adult which prosecutors say is not unusual in cases of teenagers. 

"This is not unusual with young people of that age. Juvenile [courts] cannot do anything or supervise them after they become 18. And so it just makes better sense to move them into adult court where they can be supervised effectively," said Assistant State Attorney John Molchan.

However, the court still has the ability to impose juvenile sanctions as Grover was a minor at the time of the offense in question. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.