Friday, March 06, 2020

Florida group funded by pro-Trump Super PAC tied to voter registration fraud arrest (Miami Herald)

Thanks to an alert Election Supervisor, the Lake County, Florida Sheriff arrested a Republican apparatchik for voter registration fraud. That won't happen in St. Johns County, where the political machine is protected by VICTORIA OAKES, appointed to the job in 2011 by Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT.

VICHY OAKES is insouciant with apparent TRUMP supporter voter registration irregularities, e.g., those involving voter registration activities by the likes of Dr. MICHEL SERGE PAWLOWSKI, D.Sci., who took an adjuciation withheld on criminal charges voter fraud (registering himself to vote in St. Augustine Beach for his daughter before he moved here).

VICHY OAKES won't take action on a non-resident voter elected to office from a boat (St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District Chair BARRY MARK BENJAMIN. VICHY OAKES won't hold early voting in St. Augustine.

I have filed to seek the Democratic nomination for St. Johns County Election Supervisor.

We deserve fair elections.

From Miami Herald:

Florida group funded by pro-Trump Super PAC tied to voter registration fraud arrest

An organization registering Florida voters in cooperation with a pro-Trump Super PAC has been tied to allegations of fraud after a Florida elections office flagged dozens of problematic forms wrongly registering or changing the party affiliations of unwitting voters.
More than 120 voter registration forms submitted recently by Florida First Inc., a non-profit tied to the America First Action Super PAC, were marred by forged signatures, unauthorized party registration switches and bogus personal information, according to Lake County Supervisor Alan Hays. At least 18 of the forms improperly led Hays’ office to change Democratic and independent voters to Republican.
On Thursday, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Clermont woman and charged her with 10 felony counts of submitting false voter registration information. Detectives say they do not believe Florida First is engaged in fraud as an organization, but Hays told the Miami Herald Friday that additional Florida First workers may have falsified registration forms.
“Our investigation has led us to believe there are other operators that might be involved in this thing,” Hays said in an interview, noting that three new voters have reported unauthorized changes since he went public with the issue of falsified registration forms on Wednesday.
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The allegations against Florida First come just days before the state’s March 17 presidential primary and amid an aggressive push by both Republicans and Democrats to sign up new votersahead of the 2020 election. 
Florida First, which registered with the Florida Division of Elections in August as a third-party voter registration organization, has been working with the pro-Trump America First Action Super PAC. Kelly Sadler, an America First Action spokeswoman, said the Super PAC is a “contributor” to Florida First but could not comment on behalf of the organization.
In August, when the Miami Herald asked if America First Action was registering voters in the state through Florida First, Sadler responded, “That’s us!” 
Hays said Friday that he’s heard from other supervisors since the information about the fraudulent registration forms was published in local media outlets.
In Leon County, a left-leaning organization working to help former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum register or “re-engage” 1 million voters is tied to four problematic registration forms under review by the state attorney’s office, including one in which a dead woman was signed up to vote.
Leon County Supervisor Mark Earley told the Miami Herald Friday the forms are the first he’s referred to prosecutors since being elected to his position in 2016.
“It’s unusual,” Earley said.
In the Lake County case, problems began to surface late last month after Florida First submitted a batch of registration forms. Hays’ office identified 119 forms that contained false information and forged signatures. His office began receiving calls from confused voters who’d received inaccurate forms and voter ID cards sent automatically after voter information changes. More problematic forms have since been identified.
Hays said he called the state attorney’s office, the Florida Division of Elections and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. On Thursday, the sheriff’s office arrested Cheryl Hall, 63, of Clermont, and charged her with 10 felony counts of filing false voter registration information.
Hays said he spoke to Florida First on Feb. 27, and was told that Hall had been suspended. A woman who answered a number listed for Hall quickly hung up on a reporter Friday and did not respond to subsequent calls or text messages.
CHerl Hall.jpg
Cheryl Hall 
Detectives say they easily tracked down Hall because the forms she turned in were numbered to uniquely identify her as the worker carrying the paperwork in the field. But they have had a harder time understanding why Hall submitted false forms.
Herrell, the sheriff’s office spokesman, said Florida First, Inc., has been cooperative and is not suspected of encouraging the alleged behavior. “It definitely doesn’t look like it’s anything large-scale or nefarious on the organization’s part.”
Florida First isn’t the only voter registration organization facing allegations of fraud.
In Leon County, after the elections supervisor called prosecutors, the state attorney’s office is investigating issues related to four problematic forms submitted by New Florida Majority Education Fund, an arm of a prominent liberal grassroots organization in the state. Supervisor Earley said his office received complaints last week from two men who were confused after receiving cards notifying them that they’d changed their party affiliation.
Earley said his office also realized recently that the organization had submitted a voter registration form for a dead woman, as well as her mother.
“We got in touch with the mother. She was somewhat upset, to say the least,” Earley said. “She confirmed that her daughter had passed away. And she confirmed she had not filled out a form herself.”
Victricia Chandler, New Florida Majority’s chief of staff, said she learned of the allegations Friday for the first time from the Miami Herald.
“The supervisor of elections hasn’t contacted us regarding any problematic forms. This is news to us,” she said, stressing that the organization has a strenuous review process for registration forms. “These are serious allegations.”
Profile Image of David Smiley
David Smiley is a Florida native (yes, they exist) and veteran of South Florida journalism. He’s covered schools, cops and crime, and various city halls, earning awards for stories about municipal pensions and Miami Beach’s police department. He became the Miami Herald’s political reporter in 2018 and covered the midterm elections and recount.

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