With less than a week before the deadline to register to vote in the November election, Republican state leaders who had made voter fraud a top issue are offering little insight into how they are handling the increasing numbers of suspicious registration forms being found throughout Florida. Last week, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement began a review of Strategic Allied Consulting after the company turned in more than 100 botched voter registration forms in Palm Beach County on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida. Subsequently, 10 other counties — Bay, Charlotte, Duval, Escambia, Lee, Okaloosa, Pasco, Miami-Dade, Santa Rosa and Walton — have reported similar issues with registration forms linked to that firm. On Monday, a top elections official announced that the FDLE was investigating a second group, the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States, for turning in three questionable registration forms in Miami-Dade County. The two cases, so far at least, are hardly equal in magnitude.
While the Strategic Allied Consulting case has received national attention, a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said he didn’t know about the La Raza case until Monday — even though both cases were filed with the FDLE on Friday. “It truly is a coincidence,” said Chris Cate of the only two reported cases of voter registration fraud in the past several months.
Miami-Dade election officials flagged three registration forms on Sept. 12 and emailed them to the secretary of state’s office. Christina White, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade office, said the forms had similar handwriting for three different people, which is always a warning sign. Cate said it took the Division of Elections until Friday to send the complaint to the FDLE. Asked if the filing of the La Raza complaint was timed to match the other, Cate replied: “Absolutely not, that’s absolutely ridiculous.”