Was a Little Havana 84-year-old lifelong Democrat duped into registering as a Republican?

An 84-year-old Little Havana resident is shocked to get her voter registration in the mail that showed the lifelong Democrat is now registered as a Republican.

MIAMI, Fla. – A recent situation is a good reminder to people to protect their voter registration and to know what you are signing at all times.

When a voter registration card came in the mail to an 84-year-old Little Havana resident, the woman’s granddaughter said both she and her grandmother were shocked.

The woman, who has been a lifelong Democrat, saw that her voter registration now showed her political affiliation as the Republican Party of Florida.

The woman’s granddaughter said the woman did not understand how her political registration was changed.

We are keeping the identity of the voter private, but Local 10 News did ask Miami-Dade County Elections to pull the woman’s change of party registration.

We received it and it shows that the change was done in November. And, it was done by a third party.

Her granddaughter says neither she nor her grandmother understand how the political party was changed.

Thanks to reviewing the paperwork and a recounting of a knock that the woman received at her door, we now do.

One of the political and social organizations who are registered with the state as a third-party voter registration organization, who regularly canvas neighborhoods and helps people register, came calling, she said. Her family believes she trusted the paperwork they gave her and signed it, only to learn later they were registering the lifelong Democrat as a Republican.

Her granddaughter said she did not give them authority to change it.

Turns out, she did -- the signatures do match. But who checked the boxes? That is hard to prove. We learned the third party in this case was actually the Republican Party of Florida.

The party celebrated last month when, for the first time, Florida Republican voter registration surpassed Democrats by some 4,000 votes, which they credited to an aggressive voter registration campaign.

Local 10 News has taken the next step. We spoke to the executive director of the Republican Party of Florida in Tallahassee and sent her all of the paperwork we had.

She said she is looking into this case.

UPDATE: We did received a response from Helen Aguirre Ferre, the executive director of the Republican Party of Florida.

”RPOF conducts its voter registration operation in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.  Voters are free to register to a political party at anytime or may choose not join a political party at all. It is up to the individual to decide. At no time was this voter registration changed without the registrant’s permission; she filled the application out herself and signed the document  as the process requires.”


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."