Barton pushes back on ineligible votes claim

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Kim A. Barton released a Friday statement pushing back on a complaint filed with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

According to the statement, the complaint “alleges that certain individuals who were registered to vote at an outreach event at the Alachua County jail, and voted in the 2020 Primary and General elections, did not meet the requirements of the law concerning Florida’s Amendment 4/Felon Voting Rights.

“Any suggestion that the Supervisor’s office intentionally registered ineligible voters is categorically false,” the statement said.

The statement explains the office’s voter outreach programs and system for verifying registration forms and investigating complaints.

“Voter outreach and education are a fundamental and legally required part of our mission,” Barton said. “The Elections Office partners with high schools, colleges, nursing homes, centers for independent living, the county jail, and various organizations to educate and register voters. I am proud of the longstanding partnership with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. I consider it a core service to ensure that those individuals who have met the requirements of the law are able to exercise their right to vote.”

Kim Barton

The statement said outreach to citizens at the county jail includes providing voter registration educational materials, including Amendment 4 information. It is incumbent upon the individual to determine if they are eligible to submit a voter registration application based on this information. The Elections Office cannot and does not provide legal counsel, the statement said.

It went on to say that registration forms received from the jail, or any other source, are entered into the Florida voter registration system.

“The authority to verify an individual’s eligibility rests with the Florida Division of Elections, not the local Supervisor of Elections,” the statement said, noting the FDLE is investigating the recent complaint.

“I take any accusation of voter fraud seriously,” Barton said. “Anyone who submitted false voter registration information should be investigated. My office will have further comments pending the findings of the FDLE complaint.”

A local podcast called “The Ward Scott Files” aired an episode on June 2 that featured an unidentified guest who presented claims of election fraud.

The podcast host said half of the 40 people who voted from the Alachua County Jail are convicted felons and are deemed ineligible to vote if they have any outstanding fines, fees or unpaid restitution.

This story will be updated as reports from the FDLE and SOE are made available.

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