Florida has 12 million registered voters, but the only one named Zakee Furqan stands out. The 42-year-old Jacksonville landscaper voted year after year until police received a complaint that he used to be Leon Nelson, who lost his right to vote when he was convicted of second-degree murder. After Furqan left prison, he registered to vote and swore that he was not a felon, records show. Prosecutors tried Furqan on five felony counts of voter fraud, but the case ended in a hung jury in February after six people could not agree that he broke the law. The Furqan case illustrates that cases of voter fraud are not only rare but hard to prove. Yet the illusion of widespread cheating by voters continues to hover over democracy — like a bogeyman at the ballot box. This is, after all, Florida, a place still haunted by the 2000 recount with its hanging chads and headache-inducing “butterfly ballot.”
… The people who run elections in Florida, elected county supervisors, say the system has built-in safeguards to stop fraud, such as a photo ID law. “Most voter fraud is stopped because of IDs and the validation process,” said Mark Andersen, supervisor in Panama City’s Bay County since 2000.
What worries supervisors is Florida’s status as a dream destination for many people. Some newcomers register to vote and stay registered in their old state, which means they could deliberately vote twice. That’s voter fraud.
To prevent that, supervisors want Florida to join a national compact known as the Electronic Registration Information Center or ERIC, but the state refuses. Fifteen states cross-check data so that when people change states and register to vote, a duplicate registration from the old state is flagged for review.
Full Article: Bogeyman at the ballot box | Miami Herald.