JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With voter registration to cast ballots in the November election ending next week, a statewide investigation into possibly fraudulent forms includes some more than two dozen suspicious registrations in Duval County.
Elections officials say they are still uncovering names of people who have been signed up to vote illegally. It involves an election consulting firm hired by the Republican Party called Strategic Allied Consulting. Several hundred cases of voter registration are under investigation statewide, including 27 in Jacksonville.
Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland says there is something very odd about these voter registration applications.
"As it appears when you are looking at the application, it was all filled out by the same person and signed by the same person," Holland said.
There are different names on each application, but elections officials say they all have the same handwriting.
"So what we believe is the person whose names are on the application did not fill out these applications or sign them," Holland said.
The oddity was first uncovered in Palm Beach County last week. The same company turned in names that could not be verified, and in one case the registered voter had died and then registered.
One application lists a home address that is actually an industrial site on Lane Avenue. Another lists an address on Lane Avenue that does not exist.
Art Durning lives next door to the bogus address and was surprised to hear about this potential voter fraud.
"Somebody might be turning in to swing the vote one way or another," Durning said. "They might be trying to get somebody they want in there by making something up."
Elections officials don't think that's the case. They believe it's just workers hired by a private firm and taking the easy way out.
"They just took names, whether it be out of a phone, OK, or whatever, and filled out applications because most likely they were being paid for, compensated for every application they turned in," Holland said.
State Republican officials issued a statement saying, "When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request because there is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida."
Strategic Allied Consulting also released a statement that begins, "Strategic Allied Consulting has never tolerated even minimal violations of election law when registering voters." Click here to read the full statement.
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