Official: 5 Stolen Absentee Ballots Were Cast in Central Florida

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
November 2, 2016 Updated: November 2, 2016

When a central Florida couple didn’t receive their ballots in the mail, they called the elections office to find out what was going on.

Lawrence Halperin tells the Orlando Sentinel ( ) he was stunned to learn their ballots had been stolen and had already been cast.

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel says the mail ballots were stolen from five voters in three homes in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Altamonte Springs near Orlando. Ertel says they were fraudulently submitted, dated Oct. 12.

Ertel said Tuesday that none of the fraudulent ballots were counted. He said that at least two of them had already been flagged and set aside because the signature on the ballot did not match the voter signature on file with his office.

After election officials found out was going on Ertel ordered his election workers to check every mailed-in ballot that came from an address within two miles of the stolen ones.

“The good news is that it’s just these five voters,” Ertel said.

Ertel says he’ll notify law enforcement after the election because he can’t release the ballot until after then. Meanwhile, the Halperins and other victims, including registered Republican Joy McGahey, were given new ballots.

Florida Department of State spokeswoman Meredith Beatrice says there’s no indication it’s a widespread issue.