The Florida Department of State (DOS) told the Epoch Times in an emailed statement that it "received a complaint regarding alleged ballot harvesting in Orange County, which is currently under review to determine if an investigation is warranted." The Office of Election Crimes and Security (OECS), established under the DOS in 2022 by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to hold individuals in the Sunshine State accountable for voter fraud, forwarded the concern to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
In a separate Oct. 26 statement to Just The News, the DOS said it was first made aware of the allegations on Sept. 1.
"After further inquiry, OECS received additional information related to the allegation on Oct. 17, 2022 and performed a preliminary investigation. Since OECS is an investigative entity and does not [have] authority to make arrests, the office forwarded the complaint to the FDLE for possible violation of section 104.0616, Florida Statutes."
The statements issued by OECS came amid a sworn affidavit filed by Cynthia Harris, a Democrat and former candidate for Orange County commissioner. Her affidavit filed to the DOS exposed the ballot harvesting operation.
"You know, it's just utterly ridiculous that people don't understand that once that ballot leaves your hand and it's not placed in the mailbox, or it's not directly given to the supervisor of elections, you don't know where it goes," Harris said during an appearance on the "Just The News, No Noise" TV program.
"What happens is in our community when absentee ballots are mailed, the candidate or any political party can find out when the absentee ballots are mailed and to whom. These ballot harvesters know which batch has gone out. They go to the door and they ask you for your absentee ballot.
Harris, who is African-American, remarked that ballot harvesting has become "an accepted practice in the Black community.
"Well, in communities that don't look like me, no one does this," she said. "But in our community, it's kind of like an accepted practice that the man is coming by to pick up my absentee ballot or the lady is coming to pick up my absentee ballot."
The former candidate's sworn affidavit identified specific individuals working as "ballot brokers" and also provided an inside look at the election fraud scheme in Orange County – complete with emails, receipts, video clips and other evidence.
According to Harris, ballot brokers "visit individuals in their residences and assists the individual with filling out a request for a mail-in ballot." They also instruct people who requested for absentee ballots to wait for the broker to return to their homes and avoid sealing the certificate envelope.
"In rare circumstances, if the voter has filled out the ballot and sealed the envelope certificate, the ballot broker will take the ballot and then steam open the sealed envelope. The ballot broker will either correct any votes, if necessary, that were not voted according to their wishes or just throw them out."
She also revealed that residents in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers were also being utilized for election fraud without their consent. (Related: Wisconsin disability service coordinator: Vote fraud rampant in assisted living facilities.)
"For nursing homes, ballot brokers get the list of residents by cross referencing the address with the voter registration list. The ballot broker figures out the best way to make contact, usually through friends and family that may or may not know they are even part of a scheme. They help the resident fill out the mail-in-ballot or just take the mail-in ballot from the nursing home and deliver it to the ballot broker."
Harris accused Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles of ignoring the vote harvesting scheme occurring right under his nose.
"He's been there since 1996. That's 26 years that this has been a blind eye turned on our community, the people that we entrust in the fair elections and the democratic process."
In response, Cowles' office said the supervisor "is not aware of any issues regarding ballot harvesting." The top election official also urged Harris to file a complaint with state authorities "if there are any issues [she is] concerned about."
Head over to VoteFraud.news for more stories about ballot harvesting in Florida and other states.
Watch this video about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signing an election integrity bill that criminalizes ballot harvesting schemes.
This video is from the GalacticStorm channel on Brighteon.com.