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Politics

Florida Seeks Seattle Letter Writer Telling Florida GOP Voters They're Not Citizens

October 22, 2012 - 6:00pm

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating bogus letters that have been turning up across Florida telling Republican voters they are not eligible to vote.

Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday that the state intends to take a "zero tolerance" action against the individual or group behind the voter intimidation effort postmarked from Seattle, Wash. -- or any other attempt to keep people from voting.

It really bothers you when somebody would try to get anybody not to vote, Scott said.

We want people to vote. We want honest, fair elections. And it looks like people are voting early, which is good.

The letters, which cast the appearance of having come from the supervisor of elections and suggest the individual has falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen, have turned up in at least 21 counties.

With two weeks to go until Election Day, the secretary of state's office has also noted that already the state has received reports of phone calls about casting a ballot by phone and wrong voting hours.

Chris Cate, spokesman for the state Department of State, advises anyone who receives such a letter to contact his or her county elections supervisor. People can also call the state voter-fraud hotline -- 1-877-868-3737.

Early voting begins Saturday in Florida.

As of Tuesday, more than 829,000 Floridians have already voted absentee, with 371,000 returned from registered Republicans and 327,000 from registered Democrats, according to the state division of elections.

Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, made a similar call last week, saying anyone involved in voter fraud needs to go to jail.

Gaetzs comment came on the heels of an FDLE investigation into voter applications filed by Strategic Allied Consulting, hired by the Republican Party of Florida to collect voter registrations statewide.

The RPOF fired the firm and filed an election complaint against the company after hundreds of questionable registration forms were found in numerous counties.

One arrest has been made involving Strategic Allied Consulting, in which a company supervisor in Virginia has been accused of dumping eight registration forms from people who did not register as Republicans.

The Florida Division of Elections would later announce that three other groups -- the Florida Democratic Party, National Council of La Raza, and the Florida New Majority Education Fund -- were also involved in "potential irregular voter registration activities."

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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