Pasco elections supervisor disputes Trump claims of voting fraud

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President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he is ordering a Department of Justice investigation into voting fraud; the new president alleges that he lost the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally in November’s election. But a local Supervisor of Elections says that’s very unlikely. WMNF News spoke with Brian Corley, Pasco County’s Supervisor of Elections.

“Well, as I understand, from the President’s tweets and references, allegations of 3-5 million voters voting illegally. I believe he’s inferring people are not citizens and also people are voting in two states, based on his tweets. We have about 130-million votes cast for President and these 5-million, it’s just under 4% of the total votes casts.

“What I’d like to say Sean, is does voter fraud exist? Yes, it does. Is it substantial? In my opinion, no. We all agree on this. We only want eligible persons registering to vote and 100% of those eligible persons registering to vote. But, I don’t think it’s a substantial problem, to be honest with you.”

What would happen to someone if they voted and they weren’t registered or they weren’t legally allowed to vote?

“In Florida, it’s really not an issue, because states that have voter IDs–now there’s been some controversy about that as far as access to the appropriate IDs, but, I’d like to take the politics out of elections administration. I’m a strong advocate for Voter ID, but, if someone is unable to get an ID, one should be afforded to them. It would level the playing field, because in Florida, when you show up to vote, you have to present a photo and a signature ID. It really prevents someone, you know we hear of dead people allegedly voting and people who are not on the rolls. If you’re not on the rolls, you’re not going to be eligible to vote, it’s that simple.”

But, if someone were to, as the President is claiming– or millions of people were to vote fraudulently, wouldn’t they get prosecuted?

“Yes, sir. In Florida, it’s a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to 5-years in prison and a $5,000 fine. One of the things that the Florida State Association of Supervisor of Elections have been advocating for is what’s referred to as ERIC, which is the Electronic Registration Information Center. It’s a non-partisan, multi-state–right now it’s 21 states–it’s a data swap of voter registration information.

“Florida, being a transient state– I suspect the biggest issue we have is persons unknowingly being registered in two states. I’ll give you an example. Tom and Susan Smith move down from Pennsylvania and they think to notify their mortgage company, their cable company, utilities, etc. The last thing they remember to do is to notify their elections official in Pennsylvania. They move to Florida and they register to vote. If they don’t tell Pennsylvania they’ve moved to Florida and don’t tell Florida they are registered in Pennsylvania, quite honestly we have no way of knowing.

“Now, I will tell you, every odd year in Florida, we’re required to do what’s called a Comprehensive List Maintenance. Every county in Florida, we go through our entire Voter Rolls and work with the National Change of Address to identify those that have moved within the state and those that have moved out of state. So, it catches up to it.

“Are there people who vote in two states, some? I’m sure you’ll find some out of 130-million. Most of them though, what I’ve seen in my experience has been innocuous, where they just didn’t

realize they were still registered in the other state. They think it comes with them to Florida. If that makes sense.”

With that interstate system, it’s almost more likely, it would seem, that you might actually have false positives, where people are taken off the roles, by accident, more often than are voting twice, it sounds like.

“Yes. That’s certainly a possibility.”

And I finally wanted to talk about a tweet that you sent out yesterday, where you wrote, in response to the President: “Only in America, can the winning candidate question the integrity of the election. Assertions of massive fraud deserve a DOJ investigation.” So, do you think that the Department of Justice should investigate?

“If there are allegations, that’s sort of their job to do that. I do know, in past studies, under President Bush #43, the Justice Department did a huge, investigation of voter fraud and I believe they only found 120. So, if the DOJ wants to investigate, that’s great. Maybe it would highlight things like joining ERIC, for example and interstate communications. It’ll clean up our voter rolls, but, I don’t suspect it’s gonna be time well spent and the net result being finding 3-5 million voters who were illegal. Just don’t see it.”

On a related note, until Wednesday, Trump’s campaign chief registered in both Florida in New York. The Miami Herald is reporting that Stephen Bannon was removed from the Sarasota County voter roll Wednesday after the county’s supervisor of elections received information from the New York City Board of Elections, where Bannon was also registered to vote.