Politics
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, a woman votes at a fire station in Jupiter, Fla. on election day. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File) FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, a woman votes at a fire station in Jupiter, Fla. on election day. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)  

Fla. Republicans receiving fake ineligibility letters aimed at suppressing their vote

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections is investigating a number of fraudulent letters sent to voters in the state questioning their citizenship and voter eligibility, in a possible attempt to keep them home on Election Day.

“The Florida Department of State unequivocally opposes all attempts at voter fraud or intimidation and will pursue every avenue to ensure free, fair and open elections for all eligible voters,” Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a statement. “Voter fraud and intimidation can deny voters their voice in government and will not be tolerated.”

The statement alerted the public of the fraudulent letters, which claim to be from Florida election officials and imply that the recipient might be ineligible to vote.

Charles Callaghan, a Republican from Ponte Vedra, received one of the fraudulent letters Saturday.

“Basically, when I read the letter, I got the impression that I was not going to be able to vote, because my citizenship was being questioned,” Callaghan told The Daily Caller. “I wasn’t quite sure why it would be, because I was born in the United States, and I’ve always been a United States citizen, and nothing has changed in my life … that would cause my citizenship to be called into question.”

Callaghan noticed that his letter lacked a return address and included faulty contact information and a Seattle, Washington postmark.

“I said to my wife, somebody is just trying to keep me from voting,” Callaghan said. “To put that doubt in my mind that I can’t vote and then not give me a way that I could dispute it — because they didn’t give me a phone number or address — they are thinking I am going to get frustrated and just not go vote. ”

The Romney campaign said it is aware of the possible fraud.

“Our campaign is concerned with this situation, and we are monitoring it closely,” Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams emailed TheDC. “If anybody believes that they have received one of these letters, we urge them to contact their local election officials and the Florida Department of State.”

According to the Florida Department of State, voter fraud constitutes a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to $5,000 fine and five years in prison.

“We’ve received multiple reports of a fraudulent letter that impersonates supervisors of elections and indicates that eligible voters might be ineligible,” Chris Cate, spokesman for the Division of Elections, explained to the Tampa Bay Times, which reported the letters have gone mostly — if not entirely — to Republicans in the state.

“We’re working with the state’s supervisors of elections, as well law enforcement, to identify the source of the letters and put a stop to them,” Cate said.

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