TAVARES – Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays has determined that fraudulent Florida Voter Registration Application forms were submitted to his office and is advising voters to review their voter file, which is available on the Lake County election website, www.LakeVotes.com/Voting/Voter-Information.
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,” Hays said. “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 information the elections office had found to the state attorney’s office for further investigation. Falsifying voter information is a criminal offense according to Florida law. 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.
“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,” Hays said. “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, my focus is on the election and making sure every eligible voter can cast a ballot and have their vote counted,” Hays said. “I’m pleased to say that the process is working as it should.”
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 previously registered Democratic voters may have unknowingly had their voter registration changed to Republican. 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, and that’s why Hays is asking voters to check for correspondence from his office or to check their voter file at https://www.lakevotes.com/Voting/Voter-Information.
While some of these changes may have been correct, others may be due to falsified information. If a voter finds that any information is inaccurate, or that changes were made to their voter registration that they did not authorize, he or she should contact the Lake County Supervisor of Elections office at 352-343-9734. It’s important to note that even if unauthorized changes were made to their file, voters will still be able to cast a provisional ballot and elections officials will ensure every eligible vote is counted. Poll workers have been carefully trained to handle this and other potential problems.
The primary election for both Republicans and Democrats is March 17. Early voting begins tomorrow, March 5. There are 11 early voting sites that will open tomorrow. For more information about the election, please go to www.LakeVotes.com.