A nonprofit group has provided 35 possibly fraudulent voter registration applications to Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark, who notified prosecutors Thursday.
The first batch of 21 applications was delivered to the election supervisor's St. Petersburg office Sept. 26. A group called Work for Progress collected them, said Clark spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock.
The Denver group was founded earlier this year to recruit people to work for progressive causes, according to its Web site.
Whitlock said she contacted Work for Progress and was told they were aware of the problem and had fired the person responsible. But on Oct. 3, Whitlock said another batch of suspect applications was received.
She said many of the applications appear to have been completed by the same person. In some cases, addresses were the same.
In another instance, an incomplete form was submitted. The elections office contacted the alleged applicant, who said she had been registered to vote since 1995 and hadn't applied anew.
A records check confirmed her story, Whitlock said.
Work for Progress recruits staff for the Community Voters Project, also based in Denver, for its nonpartisan minority voter registration effort, said project director Ayodele Carroo.
Although Carroo said her group has no ties to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, one Work for Progress client, Progressive Future, supports Obama for president.
Carroo said that when the applications were dropped off, questionable ones were put in a separate pile and elections officials were told there could be problems with them, which is standard practice.
The canvassers responsible, both on the job two days, were fired, she said. "We have a zero tolerance policy for fraud," Carroo said, "and have implemented extensive checks for detecting suspect forms."
The group has registered 1,800 new voters in St. Petersburg, Carroo said, and 330,000 nationwide. There have been reports elsewhere in the country of project canvassers submitting problem applications.
Whitlock said there hadn't been problems with the group's other submissions in Pinellas.