Bogus letters questioning Florida voter citizenship investigated
October 23rd, 2012
08:27 PM ET
6 years ago

Bogus letters questioning Florida voter citizenship investigated

Washington (CNN) - In the critical battleground state of Florida, the state's Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service tell CNN they have opened a preliminary investigation into a slew of bogus letters to some voters questioning their citizenship and registration just two weeks before the November election.

Written on fake letterhead of a local county's Supervisor of Elections, the letters say that the county "has received information from the Florida Division of Elections regarding your citizenship status, bringing into question your eligibility as a registered voter."

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The letters bear no return address but do carry a postmark from Seattle, Washington.

People in 23 counties had already received such letters and officials expect "the number to go up," Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner told CNN.

Detzner, a Republican, said he had referred the issue to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. That agency said late Tuesday they had opened an investigation into the matter.

"We are very serious about this matter," Detzner said. "This type of effort to intimidate voters in Florida is unacceptable, will not be tolerated and we anticipate taking every measure possible with law enforcement to make sure the individuals doing this are prosecuted."

The letters tell recipients to complete a "Voter Eligibility Form" included in the mailing and to return it to the Supervisor of Elections office within 15 days.

The form requests social security information, Florida drivers license numbers, addresses and other information.

The letters tell recipients that failure to submit the form will result in removal of their names from voter registration rolls, and that they will no longer be eligible to vote. None of it is true. There's also a warning that non-registered voters who cast votes may be subject to arrest and imprisonment.

Ion Sancho, Leon County's supervisor of elections, where three of the letters were sent under his name, said the letters could be "some kind of dark-humored spoof, which of course is not very funny."

Sancho immediately turned all of the letters he received over to a federal prosecutor's office in Florida, he said. All of the letters he is aware of were targeting Republican voters.

"Not only Republicans but very active Republicans - Republicans that have taken some action that goes beyond voting," Sancho said. "I suspect whoever's sending out these letters has purchased some kind of donor or campaign list that's given them a group of high-profile Republicans."

Several other county election supervisors said they believed that Republican voters were the primary targets. But Detzner said members of both parties had received the letters, as well as at least one voter who did not have a party affiliation.

One voter who received the mailing told CNN that he was a registered Republican and a conservative. He said he was not overly active in politics and had only contributed to one campaign recently: Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott. The voter, in his 50s, said he saw the letter as an attempt to keep him from voting on Election Day.

Filed under: 2012 • Florida
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Frank

    This is not an attempt to get people from voting. This is an attempt to get people's information. Like social security and driver's license.

    October 23, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. mgrgurich

    And in Wisconsin the GOP sent letters to registered Democrats in Madison telling them they had to register in the township of Albion

    October 23, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. Chris

    This is a example why voter id is needed.

    October 23, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Vile

    How can the people who orchestrated this voter supression effort sleep at night. Regardless of partisanship and zeal. How does someone rationalize doing things like this? Where's their conscience? Its so premeditated, its almost sociopathic.

    October 23, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. DENNA

    Rotten Rethuglican so-and-so. What's the matter? After all of the lies and deceit you have practiced over the past four years, one would think that is enough to get you back into office. You people can't wait to finish ruining America, right?

    October 23, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. fitz

    Most voter fraud attempts this time around are coming from the Republicans. Shame on them.

    October 23, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  7. Jen

    What did you expect from Republicans. They did this when bush was running. nice try people, not going to work.

    October 23, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. Namejkane sfl romneycare, l didnt mean it, its not my fault, ann made me do it ,im sorry conservaties, who needs romney care anyway, i dont

    Mostly gop voter registration fraud in many swing states ,the latest in virgina with one felony arrest of an rnc employee ,FBI ,justice department ,where are you, this is a presidential election?????

    October 23, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Whoever does this is doing something that is completely unAmerican. They hate the democratic process. I prefer everyone vote and every party be heard of so that people can make as informed decision as possible.

    October 23, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. AK_steve

    Let me be the first to point the finger: GOP, Crossroads, Carl Rove.

    They are all liars and cheaters!

    October 23, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. Barak Lincoln

    And Tagg owns the voting machines in Ohio... but if the Romnepublicans steal the election will he really feel like he's the president? YEAH!!! they stole the whole dang country heck whats an election

    October 23, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. 1twinsfan

    Don't mess with Sancho. (haha, unintended joke) This Sancho man takes his job very seriously. Even though he is a Republican, he defied the voter purge done earlier in the year, refusing to comply with the Gov's orders.Voter suppression is wrong, Dem or Rep.

    October 23, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. Morning1Su,

    Republicans how low can you go. Now Mitt Romney's campaign want to discredit the Democrats. How desperate can you go. I wish this election was over and President can go forward and complete what he started. Mitt Romney please go home.

    October 23, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  14. g

    republicans have gone nuts

    October 23, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  15. DaveC

    Bet this leads straight to the Florida Republican party. Unfortunately, the investigation will conclude after the election.

    October 23, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  16. labman57

    Targeting registered voters from demographic groups which traditionally vote for the opposition party candidates - under the guise of eliminating non-existent voter fraud - is the wrong side of history.

    Florida's bout with electoral bulimia is a policy desperately in search of a justification.

    October 23, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. Larry L

    Always an honesty problem in Florida and always something done to help the Republican candidate. Does that tell America something about Republicans in Florida?

    October 23, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  18. joe

    the repos are trying to say they are the ones getting the letters but they are not the majority have gone to democrats. Wonder who could be sending them. Why would anyone try and surpress voters???? Hummm.

    October 23, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  19. Republican who supports President Obama

    What will the GOP say about this. They were up in arms about ACORN.

    October 23, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. JohnWalters

    It sounds like a phishing expedition. The information being requested would provide someone with sufficient information to hack into their accounts. Also, from the article, it appears that the people receiving the letters are at least upper middle class. Thus, they might have some money.

    October 23, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  21. fire0bama

    Dirty liberals are at it again!!

    October 24, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  22. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This is nothing new. These letters more than likely came from the hundreds of republican attack dog groups formed during the Bush Administration. They are also responsible for the thousands of phony e-mails they generate. These groups have over worked fact-check organizations. The problem is, most Americans aren't paying attention to the facts!

    October 24, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  23. ltnet356

    And Holder will never do anything about this.

    October 24, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  24. CronoT

    Sounds like the usual scammer M.O. of moving in, hitting a weak spot, and running off with the cash.

    October 24, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  25. Ms Edyeluv

    Whether, rep/dem/ind. Repugs will still blame Obama for this as well. Sorry want work! Attention MOVING FORWARD

    October 24, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
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