One Republican woman working in Florida went to illegally extreme lengths to boost her party ahead of what might be a big loss for the GOP in November. On Thursday, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested Cheryl Hall in connection to the submission of a full 119 false voter registration forms, many of which were switching voters from Democrat to Republican without their consent. Authorities said they’re still working on the question of whether individuals besides Hall were connected to the falsified registrations, but in the meantime, she’s been charged with 10 felony counts of submission of false voter registration information.
Florida has a closed primary, which means that after a certain deadline, only individuals registered with either the Republican or Democratic party could vote on the parties’ respective slates of candidates. Lake County supervisor of elections Alan Hays explained:
‘Voters begin calling here last week, telling us that they had begun receiving new voter information cards from our office indicating that had been changes from registered Democrats to registered Republican Party members. Voters denied filling out that form that would make that change.’
Hays added that any voter who gets a ballot for the wrong party at a polling location should “immediately notify the worker at the polling place.”
Apparently, one of the tip-offs was identical-seeming handwriting on a number of the questionable applications. The person behind the falsifications was tracked down via the serial numbers on the registration forms, which Hall had submitted to authorities under what turned out to be false pretenses.
Hall got access to the forms in the first place, which also featured flatly incorrect personal information for some voters, because she worked with Florida First’s office in Winter Haven. The group said that they’re working with authorities to help “ensure every voter is properly registered to vote.” The organization markets itself without a partisan bent, insisting on its website that its mission is to “engage voting age Floridians, especially those currently unrepresented, by educating them as to their civic opportunities, and how those opportunities affect their future.”
On a much larger scale, the Republican Party has long driven voter suppression policies. Across the south throughout recent years, southern states — many of which are Republican-led — have closed nearly 1,200 polling places since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that those locales no longer had to run voting system changes by federal authorities. Fewer polling places means, of course, that fewer people might have a chance to actually get through the system and cast their ballot. Republican authorities in many states have also pushed policies like removing registered voters on the basis of arbitrary, punitive demands, and they’ve sought to demand identification before voting that poor and other marginalized communities might not have access to.
The irony is that the GOP is the side that’s often pushed claims of voter fraud — but the only “fraud” is coming from their suppression. There’s no evidence for claims like Trump’s consistent insistence that “millions” of votes were illegally cast in the 2016 presidential election. The evidence just isn’t there.