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Saturday, Sep 23, 2017
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FBI investigating bogus letters to voters

TAMPA - The phony threatening letters sent to some Florida voters have gotten the FBI's attention. The agency is trying to determine who sent the letters, which are meant to look as though they came from a supervisor of elections office. Election fraud and trying to intimidate voters are federal and state criminal violations, said Dave Couvertier, an FBI spokesman in Tampa. The FBI is working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Florida Division of Elections and the offices of the supervisors of elections in 23 Florida counties, including Hillsborough, where residents have reported receiving it.
The formal-looking letter states that records show the recipient is not a U.S. citizen and that noncitizens can't vote. It states that the person should stop by the office of the supervisor of elections if there has been an error or if his or her citizenship status has changed. The Seattle-postmarked envelope has no return address. On the top left corner it says "County Supervisor Division of Elections." Anyone receiving it should contact the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office, (813) 744-5900, or the FBI's Tampa office, (813) 253-1000. Three such letters had been reported in Hillsborough through Tuesday, said Travis Abercrombie, spokesman for Election Supervisor Earl Lennard's office. State Division of Elections spokesman Chris Cate said most of the letters went to registered Republicans. "Now is the time when you're going to see people try to commit elections fraud," Cate said. "It's very important that Floridians be vigilant."

jpatino@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7659 Twitter: @jpatinoTrib

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