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13 posts from October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012

Florida Republicans targeted in dirty-tricks vote campaign

The Florida Division of elections and state law enforcement officials are investigating "multiple" bogus letters sent to Florida voters to inform them that they have been flagged as suspected illegal, non-citizen voters.

"I sat there and actually had to read it a couple times because I didn't understand what it said at first," Republican Charles Callaghan of Ponte Vedra recounted to Buzz about the letter he opened Saturday. It claimed to be from the St. Johns County elections supervisor, informing him that elections officials had been informed he may be ineligible to vote and "registering to vote under fraudulent conditions or swearing a false oath are both third degree felonies in Florida."

It's an interesting twist on Florida's noncitizen voter purge, which was led by Republican Rick Scott, and was more of a threat to Democrats and independents. But now some outside group is trying to use the GOP-led effort against the GOP.

"We've received multiple reports of a fraudulent letter that impersonates supervisors of elections and indicates that eligible voters might be ineligible," said Chris Cate, spokesman for the Division of Elections. "We're working with the state's supervisors of elections as well law enforcement to identify the source of the letters and put a stop to them."

Cate said anyone receiving such a letter should contact their local elections office.

The postmark was from Seatttle Washington, as were other similar letters received across Florida.

The letters appear to be going mostly or entirely to Republicans in Florida.

“Our campaign is concerned with this situation and we are monitoring it closely," said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams. "If anybody believes that they have received one of these letters, we urge them to contact their local election officials and the Florida Department of State.”

Posted by Adam C. Smith

More than 830,000 Floridians have voted, GOP up 5 but Dems ready to even score with early voting

After taking Sunday off (there's no mail delivered then, so no new mail-in ballots to count), here's the latest daily update in the absentee-ballot voting war. It's like the others: Bigger than the day before; and Republicans leading in ballots already cast, but not like they used to. Republicans are ahead by 5.4 percentage points (note: it looks like 6% in the numbers below due to rounding). But that's down compared to this point in 2008, when their cast ballots were about 17 points higher than Democratic absentee ballots cast, according to Democrats.**

Still, it's a GOP lead. Expect that to change when in-person early voting, which Democrats dominate, begins Saturday Oct. 27.

Voted ballots:

Party      Voted          %
REP     371,356 45%
DEM     326,624 39%
IND     131,274 16%
TOTAL     829,254

Outstanding requests:

Party   Requested          %
REP     661,749 40%
DEM     669,334 40%
IND     333,398 20%
TOTAL   1,664,481


Top 15 AB-voting hotspots, which account for 68 percent of the ballots cast (R/D=Republican-Democrat):

County    Total      REP      DEM       R/D
PIN       86,799       35,794       34,455       1,339
DAD       73,314       32,886       27,788       5,098
HIL       58,960       23,498       25,280      (1,782)
BRO       41,117       12,205       22,513    (10,308)
ORA       40,625       15,783       18,362      (2,579)
SAR       38,120       17,095       14,927       2,168
BRE       33,162       16,291       11,960       4,331
POL       28,695       12,124       12,434         (310)
LEE       27,668       14,389        8,155       6,234
VOL       26,045       11,888        9,686       2,202
PAS       25,413       10,876        9,951          925
CLL       23,555       14,339        5,147       9,192
DUV       22,822       11,539        8,405       3,134
MRN       20,133        9,541        7,849       1,692
SEM       18,751        9,718        6,010       3,708

 **One of the reasons Democrats are doing better with absentee ballots is that they have to because the GOP-controlled Legislature cut back on in-person early voting hours relative to 2008, when Democrats swamped the polls during a cumulative 120 hours of early voting over 14 days. Now, the days are limited to eight and the hours to 96 (note: the hours were always capped at 96 total, but then Gov. Charlie Crist issued an executive order that kept the early voting polls open longer).

We last explored this in an article when the vote hit the half-million mark

Lobbyist Steve Madden dies at age 43

207678_1965675827826_4409420_nSteven John Madden, 43, a Tallahassee lobbyist and Republican political consultant, died early Sunday after an almost six-year battle with melanoma. A graduate of Florida State University and Lake Mary High School, Madden was one of the Republican Party young guns who helped  the GOP assume control of the state Senate in 1994 and the state House in 1996.

Known for his gentle, ever-present smile and keen intellect, Madden served as staff director in the Senate Majority Office for former Majority Leader Dennis Jones from December 2002 to November 2004. He joined the Jeb Bush administration as chief of staff at the Agency for Health Care Administration from Nov. 2004 to Jan. 2007, where his policy work included advocating for major Medicaid reform. He left state government to join the lobbying corps where he went to work at Southern Strategy Group and most recently worked for Centene.

His friends describe him as a fierce competitor, with a love for any game and a fondness for golf and politics. Born in New Jersey, Madden moved to Longwood, Florida, where he enjoyed a lifelong hobby of photography.

He met his wife, Carrie DiMuzio in 1998 and the couple eloped to Hawaii in 2003, where they were married. They have two children, Callen, born in 2007, and John Robert, born in 2010.

A funeral will be held Monday, October 29, 2012, at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee
with a reception to follow at the Governor’s Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests
donations be made to the Madden Memorial Fund, Post Office Box 10805, Tallahassee, Florida
32302. Download Obituary - Steven John Madden