The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is considering investigating an alleged long-running and widespread ballot harvesting operation among black communities in the central part of state.
Law enforcement officials are considering probing the matter on the recommendation of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' new election crimes unit, the Office of Election Crimes and Security (OECS), officials confirmed.
DeSantis' new election crimes body was established this year in an effort to hold individuals in the state accountable for voter fraud.
Law enforcement officials confirmed they are looking into the matter in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.
"The Florida Department of State has received a complaint regarding alleged ballot harvesting in Orange County, which is currently under review to determine if an investigation is warranted," the statement read.
"After further inquiry, OECS received additional information related to the allegation on October 17, 2022, and performed a preliminary investigation," the statement read. "Since OECS is an investigative entity and does not [have] authority to make arrests, the office forwarded the complaint to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for possible violation of section 104.0616, Florida Statutes," it added.
Since the 2020 presidential election, Republican lawmakers and experts have repeatedly raised concerns over alleged voter fraud that may have swung votes in favor of President Joe Biden.
Democrat Blows the WhistleIn late August, former Orange County Commissioner candidate Cynthia Harris, a Democrat, filed a sworn affidavit with the office of Florida's secretary of state alleging the ballot harvesting operation, according to a Just the News report.
In the affidavit, Harris reportedly said voting activists in Orlando were being paid $10 for each third-party ballot they collected.
"You know, it's just utterly ridiculous that people don't understand that once that ballot leaves your hand and it's not placed in the mailbox, or it's not directly given to the supervisor of elections, you don't know where it goes," she said.
Guillermina Fuentes, a 66-year-old former mayor of the town of San Luis, was accused of being involved in a ballot harvesting scheme during an August 2020 municipal election in which she allegedly illegally collected early ballots from four individuals that were not family members.
Under Arizona's anti-ballot harvesting law, it is a felony to hand in early ballots for individuals who are neither family nor household members unless the person handing in the ballot is the voter's caregiver.