NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodNaples

Actions

Florida Election Police probe misleading texts in Collier County

Voters claim they got texts for requesting mail-in ballots
Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 23, 2024

NAPLES, Fla. — Florida's election police are delving into allegations of misleading text messages sent to voters in Collier County, signaling an investigation into potential election crimes.

According to the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office, numerous complaints have been lodged by voters who received messages falsely thanking them for requesting mail-in ballots.

These messages, however, did not originate from the county.

"We packaged everything we had – some complaints from voters, along with the actual text message and some other things we had received – and sent it to that office of elections crimes and security," stated Melissa Blazier, Supervisor of Elections for Collier County.

Blazier further explained the problematic nature of the messages. "It seems that we got text messages that are being sent from various organizations, maybe that are missing the disclaimer completely. We have websites that are popping up that don't have disclaimers in addition to mailers that don't have proper disclaimers."

The source of the controversy stems from messages sent out by Win America, a political action committee based out of Gainesville. While PACs are legally permitted to distribute messages supporting certain candidates, they must adhere to FEC regulations, including having a clear and conspicuous disclaimer.

Blazier emphasized the importance of halting misinformation directed at voters regarding mail-in ballots.

"I hope that it ends, truly. A political action committee shouldn't be involving the Supervisor of Elections Office. They are election communications organizations and that's fine and that's something that's within Florida law. But once we involve the Supervisor of Elections and we start to spread misinformation, that's when I'd like it to stop," Blazier told Fox 4.

If the investigation goes forward, Blazier indicated that it will be handled by the state authorities. Her office said it will not be involved in how the state decides to manage the case

An attorney for Win America's PAC said the group sees no issue with the messages sent out to voters,