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Election officials concerned about double-voting by seasonal residents in Florida

Posted at 5:42 AM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 17:38:16-04

With the start of early voting kicking off here in Florida, there's concern this morning from some election officials about double-voting.

With so many "seasonal residents," there's worry some may vote early in their home state, then head to Florida and cast another ballot on Election Day.

The issue of voter fraud is top of mind for many voters, especially considering it's been a talking point on the campaign trial by Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump in recent weeks.

In Florida, voting twice in a federal election is a felony and can get you up to 5-years in prison. But elections officials believe that some take that risk.

"I have had discussions with some snowbirds who say very proudly that they voted up north, came down here and voted down here. Now to what degree this is happening, I have no idea," said Clara Ann Graham with the Lee County League of Women Voters.

Graham stated it's a real problem. Seasonal residents living part time here in Florida voting here and in their home state.

Some think it's a growing problem and could possibly affect the general election. Elections officials say the State of Florida has been unable to fully participate in a cross-check program due to differences in states' public records laws.

"I think that if all the states get a central database and we can put it all together we may be able to catch people that might be voting twice but we have no way to check it," said Sharon Harrington, Lee county Supervisor of Elections.

Action News election analyst  Dr. Susan MacManus said there have been discussions through the years of establishing a national data base. But, historically elections are run by the state and not the federal government.

"It's really not fair and it is what disturbs people. There is always a case where the local media has uncovered someone who has voted in their home state, usually a Northern state but also voted in Florida," said Dr. MacManus.

She said until action is taken we could see this again.

"The reason why this can be pulled off is because we do not have an integrated national base that links all the registrants in all 50 states. If you did it would be easy to take care of and prohibit," said Dr. MacManus.

You can easily be registered twice because the way your registered in one state can be different than being registered in another. And the reason is because we do not an integrated registration data base so you can check that in this country.

The Department of State does investigate allegations of voter fraud. You can file a complaint form if you believe someone may be committing voter fraud.

To file an elections fraud complaint, simply download this form and send to the Florida Department of State, Office of the General Counsel, 1st Floor, R.A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Fla. 32399-0250.

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