The FBI has launched an investigation in Florida after hearing that a number of people in the state received letters claiming they are ineligible to vote. The official-looking letters falsely tell people that their citizenship status is in question. While the letters appear to come from county supervisors in Florida, they are postmarked from the Seattle area.
"You must complete the attached Voter Eligibility Form and return it to the Supervisor of Elections Office within 15 days of receipt. Failure to submit this form within fifteen (15) days will result in the removal of your name from the voter registration rolls and you will no longer be eligible to vote. A non registered voter who casts a vote in the State of Florida may be subject to arrest, imprisonment, and/or other criminal sanctions," says the letter.
It is signed from Jerry Holland, the Duval County supervisor of elections, but he did not send them.
"The letterhead has a flag and an eagle in the top left corner of the letter and appears to be from Jerry Holland Supervisor of Elections but is not," reads a statement from the Deputy Supervisor of Elections.
Even a member of the Palm Beach Town Council received a letter, reports the Palm Beach Post.
Special Agent Dave Couvertier, a spokesman for the FBI, said that both parties have been targeted. The agency has received about 50 letters so far, but they are still collecting them and that total number is unconfirmed. He added that the letters seem to be limited to Florida, as there have been no reports of similar letters in other states.
This is not the only voter-registration incident in the state this election season.
The New York Times notes that the Republican Party came under fire after suspicious voter-registration applications were submitted in ten Florida counties by a company run by Nathan Sproul, a Republican who has been dogged by allegations of voter fraud.
Florida law enforcement officials have been investigating multiple claims that registrations used false addresses or dead people's names.
As the Times reports, Sproul's companies have collected more than $17.6 million from Republican committees, candidates and the Super PAC "American Crossroads." And the Republican Party paid Sproul about $3 million this year to work in five states before severing ties with him following allegations of voter-registration fraud.
Sproul did not respond to a request for comment.
Florida voters have also reportedly received phone calls that wrongly told them they could vote by phone and there was no need to cast a ballot on Election Day.
The Christian Science Monitor points out that glitches in e-voting machines in four battleground states, including Florida, cold produce erroneous tallies that would make it nearly impossible to correct. And the election could be close enough that a machine error could influence the outcome, Princeton Prof. Edward Felten, who studies e-voting machine weaknesses, told the Monitor.
The Obama campaign released a video on Wednesday referencing the 2000 vote recount in Florida and urging people to vote even if they think their vote won't matter.
In a swing state such as Florida, each vote could very well make a difference.