Audio report by Chip Skambis – WUFT-FM
This is a template of what many citizens across Florida received this week: a letter “from” their specific Supervisor of Elections which claims “The _____ County Supervisor of Elections has received information from the Florida Division of Elections regarding your citizenship status, bringing into question your eligibility as a registered voter.”
The letter requests the recipient to fill out the attached “Voter Eligibility Form” in order to remain a registered voter and directs any questions or concerns to the county’s Supervisor of Elections. At least 20 counties are affected, according to NPR; the article also stated that many of the fake letters are going to Republicans.
“This is an example of why voters need to be vigilant during the election season and to be aware that there may be people out there committing fraudulent acts,” Chris Cate, a spokesman for the Florida Department of State, told NPR.
Voters this summer received letters similar to the one above after Gov. Rick Scott organized what became known as a “voter purge” to remove alleged non-citizens who are not allowed to vote.
The Department of State created a list of potential non-citizens in order to have as fair of an election as possible, Scott said, but that original list contained a “disproportionately high number of citizens (who) were flagged as potential noncitizens,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
That drive to remove voters led many to question the validity of the voting system in Florida, whether or not citizens agreed with the program. The voter removal program was largely suspended as election season approached due to inaccuracies in the suspected non-citizen list.
Still, in light of Scott’s plan, letters like this might seem more legitimate.
How authentic does the bogus letter look?
“That is not our typical letterhead here in Marion County,” said Wesley Wilcox, the Assistant Supervisor of Elections in Marion County.
Voters who receive any misleading material can “bring it all to our office,” Wilcox said.
At least one person who received the letter was not an absentee voter, so the mailer did not go “through that portion of the data,” said Wilcox. Although the letters are postmarked from Seattle, authorities still do not know where they are specifically coming from.