TAVARES, Florida. – Boxes inside the Lake County Supervisor of Elections office contain more than 17,000 signed petitions.
Supervisor Alan Hays says so far they’ve rejected almost 60% of them.
“Every petition that comes to us, check the name on it, the address, the date of birth, and we check the date the petition was signed, and we check the signature and see if it matches what we have on file for that elector.”
He says they send more than 3,000 such petitions to the state attorney’s office – petitions they believe are fraudulent.
For example, Hays says, “We have no record of this person even in our database and the address is incorrect. There’s just all kinds of things that seem to be false information being presented to us.
The petition is numbered 21-16, a measure that would allow voters to expand gambling in Florida beyond Seminole-run casinos. The petition is supported by a group called Florida Voters in Charge and chaired by a man named William Spicola.
Messages to the band and to Spicola went unanswered. Election workers say every registered voter whose petition has been rejected receives this letter explaining what happened.
Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox says they don’t normally reject that many petitions. He says that in his area, staff even found the names of Wilcox and his wife on petitions they never signed.
“In my office, if there’s a signature that everyone recognizes, it’s mine,” he joked, “I sign checks!”
The Fifth Circuit State’s Attorney’s Office said it could not comment on ongoing litigation, but was investigating similar allegations of fraudulent petitions from every county it covers.
Florida Voters in Charge has more than $50 million in funding, the vast majority coming from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which has casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore.
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