Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays determined that fraudulent Florida Voter Registration Application forms were submitted to his office and is advising voters to review their voter file available on the Lake County election website.
The fraud appears to be the work of one person who submitted false and inaccurate voter registration information such as party registration, social security and driver’s license numbers, addresses, and other information.
“My office became aware of a potential problem last week when several voters contacted our office after receiving new Voter Information Cards indicating their party affiliation had been changed from Democrat to Republican,” said Hays.
“Several of the voters told us that the only thing they had filled out was a Candidate Petition form, yet we received a Florida Voter Registration Application form with one or more inaccurate representations, as well as what appears to be forged signatures.”
On Monday, Hays turned over the information to the State Attorney’s Office for further investigation. Hays and the State Attorney have been in contact with the third-party voter registration organization that employed the person, and they are cooperating with the investigation. Falsifying voter information is a criminal offense in Florida.
“After looking at these initial complaints, our staff this weekend expanded their review to recently submitted voter change forms and began to narrow in on one individual, who appears to be the source of the false registrations,” said Hays. “We have 10 official complaints from voters whose voter information appears to have been tampered with and we have identified other suspect cases, including a handful of party registration changes.”
While the State Attorney pursues the investigation, Hays said his focus is on the upcoming election and making sure every eligible voter can cast a ballot and have their vote counted.
“I’m pleased to say that the process is working as it should,” said Hays.
When information was submitted that contradicted other information in the system, the Supervisor of Elections office sent a letter to the voter advising them that there was unverified information on an application and requesting the voter contact the elections office.
The most significant impact of these false registrations is that Democratic voters may have unknowingly had their voter registration changed to Republican. The SOE office said anyone affected will be given a provisional ballot, so they can still vote in the upcoming Primary Election. Poll workers have been carefully trained to handle this and other potential problems, according to the SOE office.
Until this fraud was detected on Friday, the SOE office would have processed the change as usual - by issuing a new voter registration card with updated information. Hays is asking voters to check for correspondence from his office or to check their voter file here. If a voter finds any inaccurate information, or that unauthorized changes were made to their voter registration, he or she should contact the Lake County Supervisor of Elections office at 352-343- 9734.
The primary election for both Republicans and Democrats is March 17. Early voting begins tomorrow, March 5. Click here for early voting locations in Lake County and other election information.
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