Florida Voter Suppression: Fake Letters Sent Out Questioning Citizenship Status

Thousands of Florida voters in about 20 of the state’s counties have been receiving fake letters questioning their citizenship status as a way to scare them away from voting in the upcoming November general election.

Most of the people who have received the phony letters in their mailboxes are registered Republicans who are US citizens.

Orlando’s Channel 6 reports that the letters look official but are completely bogus. And, according to a supervisor of elections in one of central Florida’s counties, “You should not expect a letter from your elections office saying, ‘You’re not registered to vote, please don’t go to the polls.’ That’s ridiculous.”

The content of the fraudulent letters contains the following:

“Inside the letter is the resident’s supervisor of election’s name, the resident’s name and address, and a warning that doubts the voter’s citizenship, saying the resident is not eligible to vote unless a letter is returned in an enclosed form within 15 days.”

The letters apparently originate in Seattle, Washington and request the voter’s Social Security and driver’s license numbers, which raises the implication of identity theft in addition to voter suppression. Any voter who received a scam letter and is concerned about voting eligibility should contact local election officials.

Both state and federal officials, including the FBI, are investigating. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, according to the Orlando Sentinel, said yesterday that “We’re going to have zero tolerance,. We’ll get to the bottom of it. We’ll turn over any violations of law to law enforcement. I expect law enforcement to prosecute those individuals.”

About one million Florida voters have already cast their ballots in early voting which started Saturday. Florida has 29 electoral votes and is regarded as a toss-up state, although, at the presidential level, it seems to be trending in Mitt Romney’s direction.