Mayor, governor candidate call for probe of voter ID changes after Local 10 reports

In this file photo, a voter makes her way into a polling place at Sea Castle Elementary School in Miramar on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Rebecca Blackwell, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – State and local leaders are calling for an investigation into possible election interference after Local 10 News reported this week that South Florida senior citizens learned their political party was unknowingly changed to Republican.

Nikki Fried — Florida’s commissioner of agriculture and consumer services and a Democratic candidate for governor — wrote a letter Friday to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the Department of Justice to open a probe.

“As a member of the Florida Cabinet, I take these reports of election interference and voter disenfranchisement extremely seriously,” Fried wrote, citing Local 10′s coverage.” 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. I request that the Department of Justice immediately begin an investigation into these reports.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also wrote a letter to county State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle on Friday calling for an investigation.

“On February 2nd, a local news station reported on the seemingly fraudulent changes made to the voter registration status of a local resident of Haley Sofge Towers, a Miami-Dade public housing building,” the mayor wrote. “Under the alleged guise of voter renewal efforts, canvassers entered the building and engaged with elderly residents, who claim they did not approve sudden changes to their party affiliation.”

This week’s stories by Local 10 reporter Glenna Milberg follow a report of hers in December about an 84-year-old lifelong Miami Democrat who was shocked to receive a new, changed voter identification card.

Local 10 News on Friday afternoon received a statement from Helen Aguirre Ferre, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, who said:

“The Republican Party of Florida has worked to register hundreds of thousands of voters and conducts its voter registration operation in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. The Republican Party of Florida is in the business of winning elections. Fraudulently registering voters does not help with that goal. We will thus review the allegations being made in Miami Dade County.

“Election administration is not a perfect process. That is why election integrity continues being a priority for the Republican Party of Florida.  We are glad to see our Democratic colleagues recognize the same. We are sure they will now join us this next session in passing a bi-partisan election integrity bill.”