By: S.L. Frisbie, IV for Polk News-Sun
S.L. Frisbie IV Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame Member, 4th-Generation Polk County Newspaper Publisher
Is this election fraud?
For many months — perhaps a year or longer — the President of the United States has been warning me (and 178 million or so of my closest friends) to be alert for election fraud.
In particular, he has warned against fraud in his own chosen form of voting: by mail.
When you’re the president, people just know you would never lie to them, right?
On Oct. 17, Mary and I got two interesting pieces of election material in the mail.
One contained the warning in one-inch all-cap letters against a red background: VOTER ALERT.
Beneath those words, in two lines of all-cap red letters, is the further warning: PUBLIC RECORDS INDICATE YOU HAVE NOT YET VOTED IN THE 2020 GENERAL ELECTION.
The second card also warns in all caps (you get the idea how that looks): “Public records indicate you have not yet returned your vote by mail absentee ballot.” In case that is not clear, it further warns me: “Your official vote by mail absentee ballot status (is) not returned.”
But it contains the reassuring message (without the all caps) that “Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True.” What a relief.
So what prompts the question at the head of this column: “Is this election fraud?”
Only this: we applied for our absentee/vote-by-mail ballots a few days after the opening date, and I delivered them in person to the Supervisor of Elections office — not to the drop box, but to an employee in the office — on Oct. 13.
Just to be on the safe side, we went on-line to the SOE web site and confirmed that our ballots had been received. And that is, incidentally, a matter of public record.
Could it be a case of mistaken identity? Well, maybe so.
The two mailers were addressed to “The Frisbie Household or Current Resident” at our home address, and bearing the return address of the Republican Party of Florida in Tallahassee.
They arrived on Oct. 17, four days after we returned our ballots to the SOE office.
Public records of the SOE do not identify us as “The Frisbie Household or Current Resident.”
Taking no chances, the same sender mailed us what it called a FINAL NOTICE (in one-inch red capital letters) four days later telling us once again that “public records indicate you have not yet voted.”
Under other circumstances, I might have been concerned about three notifications that either we hadn’t voted or that our absentee ballots had not been returned.
But thanks to the numerous public spirited warnings from the White House to beware of voter fraud, we already had ensured that was not the case.
So what could be the purpose of trying to convince us three times that we had not voted when we obviously already had?
Why tell and repeat such an obvious falsehood and think that it would be believed?
Oh yeah. Never mind.
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. At the age of 23 in 1964, he registered under the Democratic label, since all candidates in the “Solid South” ran as Democrats back then. When Adam Putnam first ran for office as a Republican, he changed his registration to the Republican label in order to vote for Adam in his primary election race. Having never failed to vote in an election since 1964, he considers himself a member of neither party, choosing a party label only because that is the way Florida’s election law works. His true political affiliation is “American.”)
Reprinted by permission of The Polk News-Sun