While Arizona Republicans have conceded a seat in the U.S. Senate to Democrats, Florida Republicans are asking federal prosecutors to investigate voting “irregularities”, which are dates that were changed on official state election documents that were discovered after the 2018 midterm elections. The “irregularities” were referred by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which claims can be linked to Florida Democratic Party. They involve changes to dates on forms used to update ballots sent by mail that featured incorrect or missing information. 

These documents, known as “cure affidavits,” were due no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 5 — the day before the election. However, the affidavits that were released on Tuesday by the Florida Department of State show that documents from four different counties had announced, in accurately, that the ballots could be returned by 5 p.m. on Thursday. 

DOS’ interim general counsel Bradley McVay sent the information on November 9, and asked for an investigation of the altered dates. “Altering a form in a manner that provides the incorrect date for a voter to cure a defect … imposes a burden on the voter significant enough to frustrate the voter’s ability to vote,” McVay wrote in a letter that released to the public on Tuesday. The letter was sent to U.S. Attorneys Christopher P. Canova of the Northern District of Florida, Maria Chapa Lopez of the Middle District of Florida and Ariana Fajardo Orshan in the Southern District of Florida.

Citrus County Supervisor of Elections Susan Gill told DOS officials last weeks that a voter who received one of the cure affidavits with an incorrect date had also received a call from a number identified as the Tallahassee office of the Florida Democratic Party, an indication the party was contacting her about her vote-by-mail ballot. "When I called it, it is the Democratic Party of Florida," she wrote in an email to DOS officials an November 8. The voter wrote that she believes that an incorrect date was used because the sender of the cure affidavit confused the deadline for cure affidavits with the deadline for provisional ballots. In the email, the voter wrote that "a bigger problem is the fact they actually changed one of the DOE forms."

Because of that change to an official election form, DOS officials referred the matter to federal prosecutors. 

Broward County is among the four counties where irregularities were referred to federal prosecutors. The county and is elections supervisor have been the focus of interest ever since three statewide races and three local legislative races went into recounts following the midterm elections. Republicans have criticized Broward Elections chief Brenda Snipes' record of mishandling balloting in a mostly Democrat county that is supposedly slanted against them. Until Tuesday, DOS officials had repeatedly told the media that no election fraud was found in Broward County. Their referral of irregularities to federal authorities is now public record.

DOS interim general counsel Bradley McVay made note in his letter to federal prosecutors of his concerns. “Altering a form in a manner that provides the incorrect date for a voter to cure a defect … imposes a burden on the voter significant enough to frustrate the voter’s ability to vote.”

According to Florida state law, political parties may request daily lists of voters whose mail-in ballots have been rejected. Any person or party may also request the publicly available cure affidavits and send them to voters who had a rejected mail-in ballot in order to encourage them to amend the ballots.

A spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party dismissed the DOS’ referral to federal prosecutors as an effort by Republican Rick Scott’s campaign to divert attention from the current recount. Scott is currently the governor of Florida.
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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