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Election watchdog hands FL 173 cases of alleged voter fraud

By   /   August 14, 2013  /   News  /   18 Comments

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE — A Texas-based watchdog known as True the Vote is staying one step ahead of Florida’s elections officials.

VOTER FRAUD: True the Vote is assisting Florida election officials whether they want it or not.

VOTER FRAUD: True the Vote is assisting Florida election officials whether they want it or not.

The organization has identified 173 cases of alleged interstate voter fraud, or double voting, in Florida and Maryland, the group announced Monday.

Each case represents a single person voting in both states during the same federal election cycle, dating to 2006.

“The 173 cases does not mean 173 illegal votes,” said Logan Churchwell, communications director for True the Vote, a nonpartisan voters’ rights and election integrity group. “It means at least double that.”

The group used updated 2012 voting data to cross-reference Florida and Maryland registration lists. Maryland is the latest state under review in what Churchwell described as the “snow bird” project.

Using names, dates of birth, residential addresses and federal voting information, True the Vote has already identified potential double voting abuses in Florida by way of Ohio (534 cases), New York (32) and Rhode Island (2), as of October last year.

True the Vote submits its findings to the U.S. Department of Justice and state elections officials for further investigation.

Florida Watchdog contacted the Florida Department of State Division of Elections for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Voter fraud is a third-degree felony in Florida and carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and five years in prison.


CATHERINE ENGELBRECHT: True the Vote president says double voting is attributable to the fragility of our absentee voting systems.

In a news release, Catherine Engelbrecht, president of True the Vote, said double voting is attributable to the fragility of our absentee voting systems.

For various reasons, including convenience, absentee ballot voting has increased in Florida in recent years, though proper safeguards are still being debated.

“Voter ID can’t do anything against an absentee ballot fraud case because it’s all done in the mail,” said Churchwell.

As previously reported, absentee balloting, or vote by mail, was the focus of a grand jury report led by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle after irregularities were found in the area’s 2012 elections.

The report highlighted several clear violations and the rise of absentee ballot voting in general in Miami-Dade County — 27 percent of the total 885,067 votes in November, as opposed to 7 percent in 2000.

True the Vote’s recent findings show the highest instances of absentee ballot interstate fraud occurring in Escambia, Clay, Duval, Pinellas and Volusia counties.

According to Pew Research, 2.75 million Americans were registered to vote in more than one state last year. But that does not mean they committed fraud.

Still, for those like Wendy Rosen, the temptation to double vote could be hard to resist.

Rosen ran for a seat in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District last year but ended her campaign less than two months before the general election when it became known the Maryland resident also voted in Florida.

Churchwell said True the Vote will continue to offer Florida and other states assistance even if they don’t get credit. “It’s a bipartisan issue, and the absentee voting system is only as good as the list maintenance process is,” he said.

Updated as of 5:07pm. A spokesman for the Division of Elections said in an email that,”The division is reviewing the files.”

Contact William Patrick at [email protected] or follow Florida Watchdog on Twitter at @watchdogfla Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!


William Patrick is Watchdog.org’s Florida reporter. His work has been featured by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and Townhall.com, as well as other national news and opinion websites. He’s also been cited and reposted by numerous state news organizations, including Florida Trend, Sunshine State News and the Miami Herald, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Florida Press Association. William’s work has impacted discussions on education, privacy, criminal justice reform, and government and corporate accountability. Prior to joining Watchdog, William worked for the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. There, he launched a legislative news website covering state economic issues. After leaving New York City in 2010, William worked for the Florida Attorney General’s Office where he assisted state attorneys general in prosecuting Medicaid Fraud. William graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three young children.

  • Gary Guyer

    Some of the double voting where people own property in another state is they can vote in the county elections where they own the property but not state and federal elections. Some think because the got sent the absentee ballot they can vote on the whole ballot which is not true.

  • AfricanRockFish

    True the Vote is a Teapublican front group. Why aren’t the mentioning the SLEW of convictions for voter law violations that’s been going on in the GOP?

  • BeccaLeigh

    I don’t know, maybe because they didn’t mention the political affiliations of the voters who have double voted and you assumed that they’re democrats…..that right there speaks volumes!! I have to say that I think you are correct and they were democrat voters

  • It’s not just 173 illegal votes. It could be 173 people committing hundreds of acts of illegal voting which was the case in Indiana and Ohio.

  • Mark J

    I’d be willing to bet all, or nearly all, those supposed cases of ‘voter fraud’ that True The Vote cites were probably simple mistakes, and I’d be surprised if there is even a single provable case of intentional fraud. I’ve yet to see proof of any US election in modern times where deliberate fraud has changed the outcome of an election. If there’s a clear-cut case of the type of voter fraud Republicans seek to prevent, having occurred here, it’d be very useful to the advocates of curtailing voting to have that to cite.

  • Cheryl Grimwood

    Absentee voting should be on a needs basis not a I want to vote everywhere basis. How many people REALLY can’t make it to the polls on election day. Your employer by law has to give you the opportunity to vote on election day at some point.

  • Prospector69

    Now, the data cited was from two states. If we consider all 50 states, what would it look like? In the past, it has been found that loads of dead people have voted, some several times. Felons who have lost their right to vote, have voted anyway. Hundreds of military votes were not counted for various reasons. Without voter registration, so that the rolls can be checked in advance for their valid right to vote; voter IDs, so that people can checked against the rolls, there is a lot of opportunity for fraud. Where opportunity exists, rats will take advantage of it.

  • Jamie Wilson

    What, you mean a case like the Wendy Rosen case cited RIGHT THERE IN THE ARTICLE? Yeah, it would be helpful if we had a few specific high-profile cases that actually got reported in the mainstream media. Where are they? Where are the reporters on what could be a huge story? Heck, this is the first time I heard of Wendy Rosen – seems to me that’s a pretty big deal. Hello? Hello?

  • dfinch

    What might that be?

  • wbliss

    By and large they are Democrat. This has been proven time and again. That speaks volumes.

  • Karen Overholt

    MN. Al Franken vs. Norm Coleman! Votes from felons and continuously recounting ballots, even collecting more votes than were registered in some counties stole the election for Franken. Obamacare passed by one vote. My guess is you believe that the ends justifies means.

  • Mark J

    Interesting you mention Minnesota. Nothing specific, just something vaguely unhappy about Al Franken beating Norm Coleman. While there were claims there may have been fraud, Politifact.com rated those claims False.

  • Karen Overholt

    The “Franken team” lawyers were much more diligent and motivated to find votes than the “Coleman team” lawyers. However, if the felon votes had been thrown out Coleman would’ve likely won by a handful of votes. Only God knows the actual ballot count.

  • sanderdog

    I really liked it when the Dade County clerk ended the recount between Bush and Gore and announced to boos that she ” had done all she could for the Vice President” as in we cannot yield anymore votes for the VP. In fact it is running the other way so we stopped counting before it gets worse. Stealing a vote is serious and should be punished severely no matter who.

  • sanderdog

    Well, history has shown that Nixon actually beat Kennedy in their election in Illinois and should have been President, but Nixon could not overcome the dead vote in Chicago.

  • Deanna Marie De’Liberto

    “I’ve yet to see proof of any US election in modern times where deliberate fraud has changed the outcome of an election.”

    So, what you are saying is that it’s not voter fraud unless it changes the outcome of an election?

    Voter fraud is voter fraud, plain and simple. It doesn’t really matter if it changes the outcome of an election or not — it is still fraud.

    Finding proof of voter fraud is a daunting task so when proof is found, it needs to be dealt with. If the appropriate actions are not taken when such proof is found, then two things happen: 1) those that wish to commit fraud know that nothing happens and this provides incentives for continued fraud, and 2) the confidence of eligible voters of the election process diminishes to the point that fewer and fewer Americans go out to vote, because they do not believe their vote actually counts.

    Election fraud, regardless of who is doing it, is serious.

  • Mark J

    If it was really about protecting the integrity of the vote I might agree. But the conspiracy needed to deliberately change the outcome of an election simply is impossible. Besides, the voter-restriction movement is entirely Republican, and every so often they slip up and reveal their REAL reason for wanting these laws. According to Republican campaign consultant Scott Tranter, “A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be.” Then there’s Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason who said “Yeah, I think a little bit. We probably had a better election. Think about this, we cut Obama by five percent, which was big. A lot of people lost sight of that. He won, he beat McCain by 10 percent, he only beat Romney by five percent. I think that probably voter ID helped a bit in that.”
    To me it looks more like Republicans don’t want ‘them’ voting because they KNOW their ideas are unpopular and they’ll lose.

  • Deanna Marie De’Liberto

    I don’t believe I mentioned anything about voter restrictions. I’d like to see every legitimate voter at the polls exercising their right to vote for the candidate of their choice. Are you aware of how many deceased individuals are still on the voter rolls AND how many of those have voted? Are you aware that we have proof of people voting as many as 6 times in NJ? Are you aware that we have found people with 2 or more registration numbers? Are you aware that some have voted in multiple states? Are you aware that in California, they will have non-citizens working the polls, something that is supposed to be restricted only to active voters? Are you aware that it only takes 30 seconds at most to tamper with voting machines? I can go on but this should give you an idea of the levels of fraud that DO exist and have been proven.

    For me, the issue of election integrity is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It is a non-partisan issue, something all Americans should agree with.

    Election Integrity NJ is a non-partisan, non-profit, citizen initiative dedicated to promoting free and fair elections. Our volunteers are trained to serve as Poll Watchers/Challengers and to research the voter rolls. We encourage every citizen to become involved in the election process regardless of political party.