PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — During a debate discussing a bill that would make it easier to vote early or through mail-in ballots, it was revealed that three men were charged with voting in Rhode Island and other states during the 2020 election.

According to court documents, the state charged:

  • Robert Nickerson, of Newport County, with two counts of mail-ballot fraud for allegedly voting by mail in Portsmouth and Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Paul Krikorian, of Washington County, with two counts of mail-ballot fraud for allegedly voting by mail in Narragansett and Vero Beach, Florida
  • Jimmy McRoy, of Newport County, with two counts of mail-ballot fraud for allegedly voting by mail in Portsmouth and Farmerville, Illinois

The charges came to light Tuesday night as state senators debated a bill that would allow voters to cast their ballots almost three weeks early. It would also make it so residents could apply online for mail-in ballots using their driver’s license or state ID, and it would get rid of the need for witnesses or a notary to get one.

Those who oppose the bill say it would open the door for voter fraud and abuses of the mail ballot system.

Sen. Dawn Euer, the lead sponsor of the bill, pushed back, referencing the voter fraud indictments as an example of how they’re on top of “rare” instances of issues.

“It is so dangerous to come up with false accusations, that are not grounded in reality. So I do want to give some facts,” she explained. “There were three people who were registered and voted in multiple states. Two people who voted in Rhode Island and Florida, and one person who voted in Rhode Island and Illinois. Guess what? We caught them.”

The Senate passed the bill 28-6 and now heads to the House.

The three men are scheduled to be arraigned on May 16.