"My office became aware of a potential problem last week when several voters contacted our office after receiving new Voter Information Cards indicating their party affiliation had been changed from Democrat to Republican,” Hays' office said in a statement.
In a press conference Wednesday, Hays said his office has found 119 falsified applications so far. The accusations and tampered registrations come just as Lake County begins early voting on Thursday.
The alleged fraud involves creating new registrations and changes to existing voters, often switching party affiliation from Democratic or "no party affiliation" (NPA) to Republican. Hays, who estimated some 30 registrations where changed, said none of the uncovered altered registrations were switched from Republican or NPA (no party affiliation) to Democratic.
"It would appear that all of them at this time that we're familiar with were moved to Republican registration or that they were not tinkered with at all," said Hays.
The Supervisor of Elections investigations found the doctored forms, which had forged signatures, incorrect dates and Social Security numbers, and all had identical handwriting. The Lake County Sheriff's Office has an arrest warrant out for a resident suspected of the alleged election fraud. Hays said the suspect worked for a third-party organization and that the elections office has stopped using the field representative.
Hays said Lake County residents can review their voter information at the county elections website lakevotes.com, and are advised to call 352-343-9735 if they have questions.
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