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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

NEWS ALERT: GOP and Dems agree -- Fraudulent letters bad

24

October

This just in.

Democrats agree with Republicans that the letters sent primarily -- but not entirely -- to Republican voters in at least 28 Florida counties is a bad thing.

Republicans can relax. Earlier today, they put out a release condeming the letters, which started arriving Friday in envelopes with Seattle, Wash. postmarks.

"This type of activity is not only disgusting, it is criminal, and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said Lenny Curry, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida in the release.  "I call on Florida Democrats to join me in condemning this false letter writing campaign that appears to target likely voters in Florida, and help RPOF get the word out about this false campaign."

Sure enough, the Democrats agreed.

"We join with the RPOF in condemning this voter suppression activity from an unknown source out of state," said Scott Arceneaux, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. "Furthermore, we hope the involvement of the FBI and state law enforcement officials will put a stop to this activity so it comes to an immediate conclusion."

Although some Democrats and voters with no party affiliation have received the letters (in Pinellas, of the eight who received the letters, only four were Republican) state elections officials say that the vast majority of the recipients so far have been Republican, frequent voters, and in some cases, prominent.

How prominent? Former U.S. Ambassador John Rood received one. So has Jacksonville City Council President Bill Bishop. And, amazingly enough, so has Curry himself.

Clearly the intent of the letter is to intimidate the recipient from voting. The letters are written to make it look like they came from the recipient's local supervisor of elections office. They are instructed that their citizenship has recently been called into question. The letters inform recipients they have 15 days to fill out a voter eligibility form and return it to the county elections office. If they don't, they'll be removed from the voter rolls. If they vote and they aren't registered, the letter warns that spending time in jail is possible.

If voter intimidation is the aim, why, then, would the letters be sent to voters like Curry and Rood who clearly know they are registered to vote?

Perhaps that's what investigations by the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will find out. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:10pm]

    

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