The obviously fraudulent applications filed by a vendor hired by the Republican Party of Florida have gained wide attention in a case that’s now being investigated by law enforcement. The dead woman registered to vote in Santa Rosa County. Phony addresses in Palm Beach County for voters that lead to a gas station, a Land Rover dealership and the Port Everglades administration office. But it’s not blatant fraud like this that has elections experts worried about possible voting mayhem come November. Rather, it’s the re-registration of voters, where personal information such as someone’s party affiliation, signature or address could have been changed without the person’s knowledge. “If they’re submitting the names of dead people or Mickey Mouse, that will be caught,” said Daniel A. Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida. “The more pernicious type of fraud is where they change the addresses of people already registered, so that when they go to vote, they’ll be at the wrong precinct.”
And unlike the rarer type of voter fraud that Republicans fret about, where ineligible voters cast a ballot, this type of fraud could turn away eligible voters, suppressing turnout. If voters had their addresses switched by someone else to a location within the county where they are already registered, then they will have to fill out change-of-address forms on Election Day before being allowed to cast a ballot. This would add time at the polls, but generally wouldn’t cause any further complications, Smith said.