Seminole County elections official says D.C. organization tried to register dead cat to vote

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Pointing out that only live humans can cast ballots, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel has set up a special website to help voters in Central Florida differentiate among all the election-related mailings they’re getting in this campaign season.

The website www.OfficialElectionMail.org leads voters to the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections website, www.VoteSeminole.org, where a link will display recent and upcoming mailings which emanate from the Seminole County elections office.

According to Ertel’s office, the move stems from efforts by the Washington D.C.-based Voter Participation Center to increase voter registration along Florida’s crucial swing I-4 corridor.

The VPC says it’s focused on increasing voter turnout among unmarried women, people of color, millennials and other historically underrepresented groups: “the three demographic groups who comprise the Rising American Electorate (RAE),” according to the Center’s website.

However, Ertel said he was sent a tweet about the mailer from a voter who stated the Voter Participation Center tried to register her dead cat to vote.

“While some may chuckle at the thought of a dead cat being offered the opportunity to register to vote, this is a serious matter, as it causes many voters to believe our office would send this, as the mailer had the words ‘Government document enclosed. Do not discard.’ on it,”  Ertel said.

“Because we are the swing region in the largest swing state in the country, the I-4 corridor and Central Florida is going to the epicenter of the 2016 elections. As the highest voter turnout county which I-4 runs through, it is incumbent on us to ensure our voters have faith in the process. Misleading mailers from out-of-state interests drives a dagger into the heart of our voters’ confidence in the process. It’s my job to ensure my county voters know which mail is official — they’re then smart enough to determine the motives of any other mailers on their own.”

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]



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