A Florida Democratic party leader directed staffers and volunteers to provide altered election forms to voters as part of an effort to fix signature issues with absentee ballots after a state deadline, the Naples Daily News reported Thursday morning.
According to emails obtained by the USA Today Network-Florida, Democrats were planning for a statewide effort to share the forms to correct improper absentee ballots after the Nov. 5 deadline.
The form was similar to a "cure affidavit," but the deadline was altered to read Nov. 8, according to the Naples Daily News. Altering state forms is a criminal offense and the Florida Department of State quietly referred the altered affidavits to federal prosecutors last Friday, the newspaper reported.
Florida Democrats gathered a roster of names and contact information for voters whose vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots were ineligible for signature problems, according to the newspaper.
“These are people that submitted VBMs before Election Day and did not sign them properly,” wrote Jennifer Kim, the party's central Florida deputy field director who also served as deputy training director, in a Nov. 7 email reviewed by the newspaper.
The Daily News reported that it is unclear how many altered forms were dispersed across the state, but noted that Kim's email provides a detailed guide to reaching as many voters as possible to get them to submit the altered form three days after the deadline.
The forms have been found in four counties in Florida.
Kim attached the altered state form to her email and instructions as to how to get the completed forms back as soon as possible.
A spokesperson for Florida's Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo wrote on a private Facebook page on Nov. 7 that the efforts to fix ballots should be focused only on provisional ballots, which had a Nov. 8 deadline.
"Hi all. Once again, to clarify: the activity taking place today is for provisional ballots. Not absentee ballots," Rizzo's note read.
A Palm Beach Democrat told the Daily News that the party was aiming to fix and submit as many altered forms as possible, hoping that a judge might rule such ballots can be included in the final vote tally.
Separate emails that were made public on Wednesday by the Florida Department of State suggested that the altered affidavits may have been tied to the Florida Democrats.
The email the news network reviewed was sent prior to Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats face growing hurdles in bid to oust DeSantis NASA adviser quits after request to change name of James Webb telescope denied NASA won't rename James Webb Space Telescope despite controversy MORE (D-Fla.) and his allies filing lawsuits challenging some voting rules and asking that the recount deadlines be extended.
GOP challenger Gov. Rick Scott leads Nelson by just over 12,500 votes, or about 0.15 percentage point.