Election Day countdown: Florida still not releasing potential voter fraud complaints

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With the presidential election now just 33 days away, 8 On Your Side is working to answer one of your biggest questions. It’s a hot topic on the campaign trail, at rallies and even on the debate stage: How widespread is voter fraud?

As millions tuned in to Tuesday’s debate, President Donald Trump once again brought up the topic of election fraud.

“I read today where at least 1% of the ballots for 2016 were invalidated. They take them, we don’t like them,” said President Trump. “This is a horrible thing for our country.”

Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden called Trump’s claims about fraud unfounded.

“There is no evidence of that,” Biden said.

So, is there any evidence of fraud in Florida’s elections? Are Floridians even filing such complaints?

To begin digging into those questions, 8 On Your Side turned to the office of Secretary of State Laurel Lee. By law, the Florida Department of State conducts preliminary investigations into alleged voter fraud. The agency then refers cases for prosecution.

On Sept. 3, 8 On Your Side requested copies of Elections Fraud Complaints related to the August 2020 Primary. For a month, we followed up with calls and emails.

Now, with the election just 33 days away, the Florida Department of State is still processing our request.

8 On Your Side Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi asked University of South Florida Political Science Professor J. Edwin Benton, Ph.D. how concerned he is about fraud in November.

“One should always be cautious about the prospects for fraud,” said Professor Benton.

While cautious, the professor says widespread fraud is highly unlikely.

“There’s too many safeguards in place and too many people, and too many eyes watching the process,” said Professor Benton. “It becomes a very very remote possibility.”

8 On Your Side’s research shows ballots are invalidated in every election. However, it’s not for a nefarious reason.

Ordinarily, mail ballots are invalidated because they arrive late or they had signature issues that weren’t cured in time.

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