TAVARES, Fla. - The Lake County Supervisor of Elections is calling out the local Republican Party. County Supervisor Alan Hays said the party in conjunction with a group called Florida4America sent out an email that discourages mail-in votes.
This comes as early voting starts next week for some local elections.
"The Republican Party of Lake County and Florida4America.org should be ashamed of their conduct," Hays said.
Hays did not mince words as he spoke about the email sent Monday that caught the attention of his office.
"I will not stand by while individuals or organizations erode the confidence or the reputation of this office and the more than 800 loyal workers who work tirelessly each election season," Hays said.
Hays said the email sent out by the groups discourages people from voting by mail. He also said it gives incorrect advice on what to do if you received a mail-in ballot by "mistake," as he said no ballots were sent in error.
"I freely acknowledge that some voters may have forgotten that they requested to have that ballot mailed to them for the elections back in 2020," Hays said. "Each of those requests remains valid until December 31 of 2022."
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Members of the Lake County GOP and Florida4America attended the meeting. The members were not the ones who sent the email but stand by what it says. "I do because I think they are digging up and asking questions and [Hays] won’t answer them," Vance Jachim said.
The Lake County Republican Party followed up the email in question with a second email carrying a disclaimer. It reads that it’s "not intended to discourage voters from voting by absentee ballot" but the rest of the message remains the same.
"They engage in this kind of lying activity that just continues to undermine, undermine, undermine, and I don’t appreciate it at all," Hays said. "I will never allow anybody to cast dispersion against anyone in this office and the people who work here."
Hays has reported the incident to the elections crimes task force. For people that have questions about mail-in ballots or the election process, Hays said to contact the Election Supervisors office immediately.
FOX35 reached out to the Lake County GOP chairman for comment multiple times but haven’t heard back.