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Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate news reports that lifelong Democrats living in retirement homes in South Florida had their party affiliation changed to Republican without their permission.
“I am especially concerned about the civil rights implications of this reported disenfranchisement because the victims are elderly, low income, and many do not speak English,” Fried said in a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Friday.
She wrote that she takes “these reports of election interference and voter disenfranchisement extremely seriously” and requested that the DOJ “immediately begin an investigation into these reports.”
The affected people would still be allowed to vote in general elections, although not in Democratic Party primaries. They’d have to participate in GOP primaries.
Fried is campaigning for the Democratic nominee in the 2022 gubernatorial election against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Fried’s letter cites reports from South Florida outlet WPLG Local 10 News, which first reported on such an occurrence in December.
Florida Republicans have been crowing about a registration drive that for the first time has positioned them ahead of Democrats in registered voters.
Local 10 reported that an 84-year-old woman found that her voter registration card showed her as a registered Republican after being a lifelong Democrat.
Follow-up reports have found more seniors who experienced a similar scenario, reporting that “victims of third-party registrations are coming forward to report that their voter registration was altered without their permission.”
The report continued: “All of the victims were older than 65 years old, live in Miami-Dade County, and all of them were outraged when they learned they were registered as Republicans.”
These concerns have caught the attention of Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Democrat who represents part of Miami-Dade County. Taddeo is also campaigning in the gubernatorial election.
Taddeo tweeted Thursday: “Every one of these voters has said they have been Democrats their entire life. They weren’t trying to switch. It’s very concerning especially since this doesn’t seem to be an isolated event.”
She sent a letter to the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections, noting that her office has also received calls from voters who claimed that their registration was changed to Republican without their consent.
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