Boy, is Glades County Sheriff's candidate Robert O. Wilson a law-enforcer. And a computer whiz to boot. Apparently.
He has filed paperwork challenging the legitimacy of about 300 voters in his county - 4.5 percent of the electorate - a number he determined by combing through computer records. Because no Republican in the state has so far filed any voter-challenges, Wilson's 300 names stands out. Nearly all are Democrats, save a dead Republican or two. The list wasn't just pulled out of the air. It was put together by a tech-savvy database-type who joined the state's central voter database with mortgage foreclosure, real-estate and 911-call list information.
We asked Wilson if he had any help from the state or county Republican Party, which has said that it's not doing much in the way of voter challenges and even less in the way of using foreclosures to challenge voters. Wilson said he did it all by himself.
"I got the list myself and spent many hours on the computer trying to find people," Wilson said. ""Everyone should have a right to vote. But they should vote in the precinct of the place where they live. I'm running for a law-enforcement position and I think it's important for people to follow the law."
Secretary of State Kurt Browning said each challenge needs to be done individually, so Wilson might have to refile it. Wilson said that was frustrating because "no one had the courtesy to tell me that down here." He said he might still go through with the challenges, which requires people to cast provisional ballots and then prove they're legitimately voting in the correct precinct.
Among those whose addresses Wilson flagged as "insufficient address to verify residence" are Laura and William Gramatica, parents of NFL kickers Bill and Martin Gramatica. Asked about the Gramaticas and football, Wilson said he knew nothing of it.
"I fish. I don't pay much attention to that," he said.