Elections supervisors rejecting large amounts of gambling petitions

Boxes inside the office of the Lake County Supervisor of Elections contain more than 17,000 signed petitions. 

Supervisor Alan Hays says, so far, they've rejected nearly 60% of them. 

"Every single petition that is presented to us, check the name on it, the address, the date of birth, and we check the date that petition was signed, and we check the signature and see if it matches what we have on file for that voter."

He says they're sending more than 3,000 of these petitions to the state attorney's office - petitions they believe are fraudulent. 

For example, Hays says, "We have no record of that person even being in our database and the address are incorrect. There's just all kinds of things that appear to be false information being presented to us."

The petition is Number 21-16, a measure that would let voters expand gambling in Florida beyond just casinos run by the Seminole Tribe. The petition is backed by a group called Florida Voters in Charge, and chaired by a man named William Spicola. 

Messages to both the group and Spicola weren't answered. Elections workers say every registered voter whose petition was rejected is getting this letter explaining what happened.

Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox says they normally don't reject this many petitions. He says in his area, the staff even found the names of Wilcox and his wife on petitions they never signed. 

"In my office, if there's one signature that everyone recognizes, it's mine," he quipped, "I sign the checks!"

The Fifth Circuit State Attorney's Office says they can't comment on pending litigation, but they are investigating similar allegations of fraudulent petitions from every county they cover. 

Florida Voters in Charge has more than $50 million in funding, the vast majority coming from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns casinos in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore.

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