QUINCY, Fla. — A local teacher is being accused of voter fraud during the Quincy City election.
Quincy resident Emanuel Sapp says Chavien Lockwood coerced students to fake their addresses for last week’s city election.
Lockwood is a teacher at East Gadsden High School, and is running for city commission seat two–against Sapp’s wife, Angela Sapp.
Mr. Sapp accuses Lockwood of telling students to use addresses in Lockwood’s district, when in fact the students do not live in district two.
Sapp said, “It’s like a predator type of approach because the only person that could have benefited from such an action would be the teacher himself. It has to be brought out because, remember now, these kids are innocent kids. They’re adults right now and for their first time ever voting, for someone to violate their privileges like that because they trust in their teacher, is just an atrocity.”
Lockwood denies all allegations.
Sapp made a challenge with the Gadsden County Supervisor of Elections Office. Supervisor Shirley Green Knight says she contacted the parents and the students’ addresses were corrected. She says their absentee ballots did not count in the election.
Knight says that’s the extent of the county elections office’s jurisdiction.
Sapp has now filed an official complaint with the Florida Division of Elections.
Sapp said, “If it wasn’t challenged, these particular votes would have went through.”
“We’re pushing the issue about three votes,” said East Gadsden Coach Corey Fuller.
Lockwood got 34 percent of the votes to Sapp’s 49 percent.
Fuller says the students’ votes would not have made a difference. He worries involving them in the voter fraud complaint will have a negative impact on them.
Fuller said, “Let’s be honest, is it really about the kids or is about we want somebody to just give us a race or are we scared of competition?”
Sapp and Lockwood will be in a runoff election May 10th.
The Florida Division of Elections Office says the complaint has been received by the Department of State. The Department of State reviews and conducts preliminary investigations of all election fraud complaints submitted to our agency pursuant to Section 97.012, F.S. and Rule 1S-2.025, FAC.
Statement by Chavien Lockwood
“There have been recent rumors that contain several baseless, false, uninformed accusations. I assure the voters in District 2 that all the accusations are false. I am not under investigation by any government body. I have not been contacted by any state or federal agency in relation to voter fraud. Since the day we started, this campaign has been about the people, this campaign is built on integrity and faith. The statements made alleging fraud by Sapp’s campaign are defamatory and false. I have consulted my legal counsel and we are considering filing emergency complaints for slander & libel against their makers. It is sad day indeed for the citizens in District 2 when candidates for public office would stoop so low, as to threaten the public benefits of hardworking citizens in the District 2. We will respond aggressive legal action if these defamatory statement don’t cease and desist immediately.”
The Gadsden County Superintendent of Schools, Reginald James, also released a statement. It reads:
“I have just been made aware of this matter and will be forwarding the information received to date to the Department of Education’s Professional Practices Division for its review. We are also conducting a separate review of this matter to determine what disciplinary action would be appropriate.”