By mid-October, Susan Halperin became concerned that she and her husband hadn’t received their absentee ballots in the mail. So Lawrence Halperin called the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Office to find out what was going on. He was stunned to learn their ballots had already been cast. Someone had stolen the Halperins’ ballots, faked their signatures and voted. “He was just floored,” said Susan Halperin, a registered Democrat. “To think that someone would actually steal my ballot and fill it out is creepy.” The Halperins, who live in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Altamonte Springs just south of State Road 436, weren’t the only victims. Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel said they were among five voters in three homes in Spring Valley whose absentee ballots were stolen and then fraudulently submitted with votes cast by someone else.
Ertel said he plans to notify law enforcement to press charges after he’s finished with the Nov. 8 election. “We’re going to ensure that whoever did this will be caught and punished,” Ertel said. “We take this very seriously…I’m not a softy when it comes to election fraud.”
A spokeswoman for the Altamonte Springs Police Department said Monday that her agency hadn’t yet received notice of the fake ballots. “We encourage the public to report that to us,” Altamonte Senior Police Officer Evelyn Estevez said.
Last week, the Halperins and the others were given new ballots to cast their votes. Those ballots were approved by the county’s election canvassing board on Monday, Ertel said.