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Deputies arrest man who is running for a seat with the Polk County Board of Commissioners

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 23:20:16-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies have arrested a man who was running for a seat with the Polk County Board of Commissioners.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested 56-year-old Martin Grenfell and charged him with "False swearing with regard to voting," which is a 3rd-degree felony.

Grenfell was running for the county's District 1 seat and deputies say he signed a candidate oath form attesting that he's qualified to hold office. However, investigators revealed Grenfell has a felony in his past, which means he wasn't allowed to run for public office.

"Amendment Four does not address and does not allow you to hold office as a convicted felon. The clemency rules say you cannot apply for clemency until five years after you’re off of probation," said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Back in 2013, Grenfell was convicted in federal court for trafficking in counterfeit labels and was sentenced to three years of probation.

"He knowingly signed documents associated with his plea agreement that he clearly knew he was a convicted felon and that one of the civil rights he lost as a results his felony conviction was the right to hold a public office," said Judd.

According to an affidavit for this arrest:

"Martin advised the following: The allegation is a lie. The form he completed that had a portion that was relatively close to the "Not a convicted felon" sentence was his voters registration form. Martin advised that sentence included "and if I am a convicted felon, I had my rights restored". Due to Amendment 4, his rights have been restored."

Judd said deputies arrested him Wednesday afternoon in Highlands City while investigating his whereabouts.

"Honest, fair elections have to be the standard by which we operate not only in this county but around the state and nation," Judd said.