Florida Voter Registration Fraud
Muslim get-out-vote unit pushes deadline (Palm Beach Post)
Theresa LePore vowed to close the Palm Beach County elections office at 5 p.m. Monday, the final day to register to vote in the Nov. 2 election, but a young man who arrived about 15 minutes after the deadline managed to drop off 550 applications on behalf of a group of Muslims determined to oust President Bush. LePore, no stranger to confrontations, said the man demanded she accept the bundles of voter registration applications attached to slips of paper identifying them as having been collected by Voting Is Power, which goes by the acronym VIP and is an offshoot of the Washington-based Muslim American Society.
LePore said he showed up, carrying a box of applications, about 15 minutes after she locked the door to her office at 5 p.m. She said she told him her office was closed but he could mail the forms as long as they were postmarked by midnight that night. But, she said, he wasn’t satisfied and managed to slip inside the lobby when someone left. “He started hollering about disenfranchising people,” said LePore, who took the box after he thrust it at her. She said that, because some of the applications were dated in July and others were incomplete, she told him he should have turned them in on time so the potential voters could have cast ballots in the Aug. 31 primary or corrected missing information. “Then he started saying, ‘You’re all alike,’ or something to that effect, and ‘It’s better in New York,’ ” she said. “And I said, ‘Why don’t you go back to New York?’ ” The man did not identify himself and Bret Wask, whose name was on the VIP labels attached to the forms, did not return numerous telephone calls to The Palm Beach Post.
LePore, who said she also let a few individuals turn in single registration forms until 6 p.m., was surprised to learn that VIP’s parent group is the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, an organization that has a federal 501(c)3 designation for religious nonprofits. Although the group claims it is nonpartisan, its political action committee has formally endorsed John Kerry for president.
Elections officials asked prosecutors Thursday to investigate possible voter fraud involving 25 registration forms with apparently bogus addresses, including some that match a public park, a parking lot and a utilities building. Two of the forms were filled out by individuals at the Duval County elections office and 23 were submitted by people who registered voters independently. Officials didn’t immediately know who turned in the independent registrations, said Erin Moody, a spokeswoman for the elections office. Moody said the 25 forms were turned over to the state attorney’s office in Jacksonville. State Attorney Harry Shorstein indicated late Thursday that he hadn’t yet seen the forms.
The disclosure is the latest wrinkle as the state tries to avoid problems reminiscent of the 2000 presidential race in which President Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes. The disputed election involved accusations that votes weren’t properly counted and people were wrongly removed from election rolls.
Duval County had already registered the 25 voters before someone whom election officials declined to identify tipped them to the suspicious information. All but three of the individuals registered as Democrats. Two chose no party and one checked Republican.
Lovely. Don’t they have security guards or something? How hard is it to not accept fraudulent voter registrations that come in late? Surely, someone has to actually process them to get them into the system?