TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s a major topic on the campaign trail: How widespread is voter fraud?
For the first time, Florida has released records related to the state’s Aug. 18, 2020, primary election to help us begin to answer that question. 8 On Your Side waited 34 days for the Florida Department of State to release the 66-page document.
According to the department, just 12 Floridians reported fraud in the primary. One Suwannee County resident filed two complaints; thus, 13 elections fraud complaints were filed in total.
Individuals reported alleged voter intimidation, wrongdoing by poll workers and text or mail scams.
Joseph Franz tells us he reported a poll worker in Brevard County.
“I handed them my driver’s license, which is a photo driver’s license,” said Franz. “Then they wanted me to sign this very small signature block – which was probably two inches wide, maybe half an inch high – with a Q-Tip.”
Due to the pandemic, Franz was asked to sign-in with a cotton swab. The poll worker then compared that signature to Franz’ driver’s license.
“I had to do it like three times and then he finally said OK, that’s good enough,” said Franz.
Franz says he found the entire episode fishy.
“It was such an arbitrary sort of decision about whether I was going to be able to vote or not,” said Franz. “Even after I had presented a valid driver’s license with a photo ID. That should be enough to let me vote.”
Franz got to vote and, in this case, elections experts tell 8 On Your Side the poll worker was just following protocol. Comparing signatures is part of the check-in process.
Other alleged instances aren’t black and white.
“It was like a fictitious name…it just didn’t make sense,” Broward County resident Daniel Young said.
Young suspected fraud when he was notified that a stranger used his address on a voter registration form.
“Fear was that, you know, somebody could have voted…using our address,” he said.
In another complaint, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark S. Earley reported suspected fraud. According to the complaint, Supervisor Earley believed a worker from a voting rights group submitted a false application.
“My office believes that a third-party voter registration agent working on behalf of a third-party voter registration organization…submitted a fraudulent Florida voter registration application on behalf of a Leon County voter,” Earley said.
8 On Your Side reached out to Earley’s office for more information. We have also asked the Florida Department of State if any of these cases have been referred for prosecution.
To be clear: these are only reports of potential fraud. As of now, there’s no evidence of actual fraud in these complaints.
Meanwhile, in the Tampa Bay area, authorities charged a Manatee County man with voter fraud last week. Authorities say Larry Wiggins requested a mail-in ballot for his wife who died two years ago.
If you have an election or voting issue, email investigator Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com. 8 On Your Side is committed to protecting your vote.
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