Florida Department of State (DOS) officials have said for days that there was no evidence of fraud in the processing of votes for the 2018 general election. But now it turns out the DOS asked federal prosecutors last week to investigate election documents on which dates were altered, apparently by state Democrats, to misrepresent to voters what the deadline was for “curing” disputed mail-in ballots.
The evidence of altered documents doesn’t show manipulation of the ballots themselves. But it does put the legitimacy of vote-by-mail ballots in question. It appears that Democrats were telling voters who needed to “cure” their ballots that they had more time to do that than election law allows. And they reportedly changed information documents about election rules to bolster their misrepresentation.
“Curing” vote-by-mail ballots entails correcting discrepancies that could get the ballots excluded. Disputed ballots often lack proper signatures, or have signatures that don’t match the ones on record for the registered voter. There may be other discrepancies as well.
The political parties keep up with the mail-in ballots as they are being processed before the election, and contact the voters registered with their parties to try to cure disputed ballots.
The deadline in Florida for curing the ballots is 5 PM on the Monday before election day.
But the Florida DOS discovered evidence that state Democrats were giving their voters deadlines that fell after election day.
The concerns, which the department says can be tied to the Florida Democratic Party, center around date changes on forms used to fix vote-by-mail ballots sent with incorrect or missing information. Known as “cure affidavits,” those documents used to fix mail ballots were due no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 5 — the day before the election. But affidavits released on Tuesday by the DOS show that documents from four different counties said the ballots could be returned by 5 p.m. on Thursday, which is not accurate.
Think about it. The implication of that is not just that the voters were being given the wrong deadline.
The implication is that Florida Democrats expected to be able to get cured ballots counted even though they weren’t turned in on time.
The Democrats expected to handle ballots in violation of Florida election law. They advised voters of their obligations on that basis.
The Politico report lists Broward, Citrus, Okaloosa, and Palm Beach Counties as affected by this problem. An official from the DOS office sent information about the improper activity to federal prosecutors for investigation on Friday.
Separately from that evidence, Politico reports that it received audio – apparently a phone message – in which a Florida Democratic Party caller asked a Palm Beach County voter to cure a ballot after election day. The call, in other words, took place after election day: another clear violation of state law on curing deficient mail-in ballots.
Politico, along with the rest of the mainstream media, has been quoting Florida law enforcement officials who’ve asserted several times that there are “no criminal allegations of fraud.”
However, that was never really the question; i.e., whether “criminal allegations of fraud” had been identified. The complaint lodged by Senate candidate Rick Scott was that at least two counties – Broward and Palm Beach – were failing to adhere to Florida law in reporting out their vote counts, and refusing to turn over information or documentation of what was going on, as election regulations require. The response of the Department of Law Enforcement was basically evasive and non-responsive.
The situation has now been updated, in any case, by Attorney General Pam Bondi. On Tuesday, she announced that she has opened a criminal investigation of fraud allegations.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of election fraud, and although she refused to go into detail, she said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, at her direction, is conducting interviews.
Among other things, Bondi indicated that investigators are examining missed deadlines for vote tabulations and other violations of the process that is laid out in Florida law.
The state is also facing lawsuits from left-wing organizations that want to retroactively throw out the deadlines imposed by Florida law. Says Bondi:
“And they’re basically trying to, as you know, throw out deadlines, so it would be the wild, wild West. I mean without deadlines, how do you manage elections?” she asked.
“And they also don’t want to require signatures for provisional and vote-by-mail ballots. And it let me make this very clear. Florida law — Florida law expressly and unambiguously states, that you must have signature verification. So what they want to do — they want to change the law after the ballots have all been cast, and go back retroactively and change our law, which is — it’s ridiculous.”
It isn’t clear why the first information about the federal investigation – which was requested last week – only came out on Tuesday. But they are pretty busy down in Florida. After all, they don’t know from hour to hour where they may have to send a bomb squad to check out a box of provisional ballots that turns up in a rental car.