WFSU News Team
Tue October 23, 2012
Leon Reports 3 Cases Of Sketchy Voter Eligibility Letters; State And Federal Investigations Underway
An official-looking letter has shown up in mailboxes in more than 20 Florida counties. The letter challenges the recipients eligibility to vote in the upcoming election. But state officials say the mailers are a sham and target Republicans. Three of the fake mailers have turned up in Leon County.
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho says he became aware of the fake letters when he got a call from a Tallahassee attorney who received one. The fake letters are sprinkled throughout the state, mostly in urban areas, and they appear to target Republicans. Sancho says he thinks the perpetrators got mailing information from political donor lists.
“This really is some kind of reverse-sting to some degree. In that these letters are sent to individuals out of some misguided sense of…something. But it’s clearly improper.”
Not only is it improper, but it’s illegal. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the mailers as potential voter intimidation, and the federal government is investigating the letters as potential mail fraud.
Meanwhile, Governor Rick Scott says he’s bothered by the notion that someone would try to stop others from voting, and that the state has zero-tolerance for it.
“We’re going to have zero-tolerance we’ll get to the bottom of it. We’ll turn over any violations of law to law enforcement, and I expect law enforcement to prosecute those individuals.”
Florida’s efforts to purge its rolls of ineligible voters and non-citizens has gained national attention. The letters, postmarked from Seattle, demand the recipient respond with personal information in 15 days or be stricken from voter rolls. The mailers surfaced last week in Hillsboro and have appeared in at least 23 counties so far. They come as Floridians prepare to head to the polls Saturday as part of early voting.