Florida Democrats urged voters to submit absentee ballots after Election Day, using an official form that had been altered to make it look like they were doing so within the legal deadline, hoping a judge would later allow the votes.
That attempt to add Democratic votes, which critics say is possible election fraud, was reported Thursday morning by Ana Ceballos of the Naples Daily News, who notes the scheme has already been reported to federal prosecutors.
A day after Florida’s election left top state races too close to call, a Democratic party leader directed staffers and volunteers to share altered election forms with voters to fix signature problems on absentee ballots after the state’s deadline.
The altered forms surfaced in Broward, Santa Rosa, Citrus and Okaloosa counties and were reported to federal prosecutors to review for possible election fraud as Florida counties complete a required recount in three top races.
But an email obtained by the USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida shows that Florida Democrats were organizing a broader statewide effort beyond those counties to give voters the altered forms to fix improper absentee ballots after the Nov. 5 deadline. Democratic party leaders provided staffers with copies of a form, known as a “cure affidavit,” that had been modified to include an inaccurate Nov. 8 deadline.
One Palm Beach Democrat said in an interview the idea was to have voters fix and submit as many absentee ballots as possible with the altered forms in hopes of later including them in vote totals if a judge ruled such ballots were allowed.
Election Day was November 6.
A decision Thursday by federal judge Mark Walker, a Barack Obama appointee, will allow voters to correct mismatched signatures on mailed-in and provisional ballots until Saturday. Republicans have appealed.
Republicans are already crying foul over Democrats’ efforts to overturn GOP victories in the races for governor and U.S. Senate by suing local election authorities to include votes that were improperly cast (or not cast).
Election officials in Broward County and Palm Beach County failed to comply with state laws and court orders regarding the counting and reporting of outstanding ballots, leading to speculation about efforts to tamper with the results.
Democrats have countered by claiming that Republicans do not want every vote to be counted.