A Palm Beach County commissioner and a state House member clinched their seats last year by stepping into voters’ homes and helping them fill out their mail-in ballots, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found. Commissioner Mack Bernard and Rep. Al Jacquet, both Democrats running in the August primary, took advantage of gaping holes in Florida’s vote-by-mail laws to pressure and cajole voters in their living rooms. In one case, a blind voter said Bernard filled out and signed his ballot. His vote counted, but Post reporters looked at the signature on the ballot envelope after the fact and found it didn’t match the one on file. Florida law requires that absentee voters sign their own ballot.
In other cases, residents said candidates watched over their shoulders, telling them who to vote for. Voters said they received mail-in ballots but didn’t know why. One woman said she felt pressured by a persistent candidate who talked his way into her home and dug out her ballot from a stack of discarded mail.
Whether their tactics were allowed under Florida law is unclear. Elections experts had never heard of candidates filling out ballots and found the practice disturbing.
Bernard and Jacquet, both lawyers who have been in politics since 2009, denied wrongdoing but didn’t answer any of The Post’s questions specifically.
Full Article: Mail-in-ballots: winning candidates help voters fill out their ballots.