Last week, The Florida Capital Star reported on two Duval County, Florida men being charged and arrested for fraudulently registering dead people to vote. It was revealed that the two men were working as employees for a petition and canvassing company, Grassfire.
Since the story broke, Grassfire has said they hired the two men in June 2021 to work as petitioners, not to register voters.
“Grassfire has hired nearly 4,000 people in 2021 to work as petitioners and Grassfire has NEVER conducted a voter registration project,” said Lee Vasche, who is a partner at Grassfire. “These two individuals worked for Grassfire for less than a week in June of 2021 on a petition project, NOT voter registration. We have fully assisted law enforcement and provided them ALL the documentation we had on both of these individuals and support their prosecution to the maximum.”
However, the Duval County Supervisor of Elections, Mike Hogan, previously said the men were working for and getting paid by a third-party voter registration organization to register as many people as possible. The men were paid on a per-application basis, based on how many registration applications they completed.
“This was a group working with what we call a third-party organization,” said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan. “… We did not see anything political about it. It was, I think, people who were greedy. There’s an incentive there to get as many as you can in.”
Under Florida law, third party voter registration organizations are regulated by the state and monitored through a database accessible to the public. Currently, there are hundreds of third-party voter registration organizations, and Grassfire is not listed as active and eligible.
Law enforcement officials have not disclosed if the men were paid by Grassfire, or by another third party and are unsure how many voters have been affected.
In Florida, there are numerous organizations who are registered with the state as third-party voter registration groups. These groups include churches, NAACP branches, civic clubs, individuals, and non-profits are eligible to register people to vote.
Third-party organizations were addressed in Florida’s new election integrity law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the Spring. SB 90 provides a framework and penalties for third-party voter registration groups. The framework includes rules on the timeliness and method of turning in a voter registration application.
Third-party organizations have come under fire in Georgia. Secretary Brad Raffensperger launched an investigation into several groups, including America Votes, Vote Forward, and The New Georgia Project, that have sought to register ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters before the January 5, 2020 Senate runoff elections.
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