With the first mail ballots for the Nov. 6 election now on their way or arriving at voters' homes, so are voter suppression calls – outreach aimed at hampering votes.
A Citrus Park couple Friday reported receiving a recorded phone call that urged them to return their mail ballots to the Democratic Party, saying the party had sent out excess or duplicate ballots.
The problem with that: Political parties may send out vote-by-mail applications, but neither the Democrats nor any other political party send out actual ballots. Only the election supervisor's office does that.
The caller ID on the call showed it came from the state Republican Party and the caller identified himself as associated with the Republican Party, said Sally Miller and her friend, Mark Erickson, who was visiting her and answered the phone.
But the spokeswoman said it's not actually a number used by the party, and state Chairman Blaise Ingoglia denied any involvement by anyone with the party.
"We do not condone this type of behavior and we ask whoever is doing this to stop right away," Ingoglia said in a news release.
The Hillsborough County Democratic Party in the past has also been the victim of "spoof" calls that appeared falsely to originate from its phone number.
Gerri Kramer of the Hillsborough Elections Supervisor's Office urged ayone who receives such a call to visit the office's website. On the front page is a "track your ballot" button that allows voters to see when their mail ballots have been sent out and when the returned ballot has been received.