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Possible voter fraud case referred to State Attorney’s Office

March 20, 2014
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Lee County Supervisor of Elections, Sharon Harrington, has asked the Lee County State Attorney's Office to investigate a possible case of voter fraud in Lee County.

The office named a Port Charlotte couple that used to live in Cape Coral and voted in the Nov. 5 municipal election, and several other city elections, even though they were no longer eligible.

Status of the request was unavailable Friday as the matter is confidential while under consideration.

"I can confirm that we have received the complaint. I cannot give details on a pending review," said Samantha Syoen, spokesperson for the State Attorney's Office.

Former Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan asked a private investigator to look into the voting activity of approximately 50 electors who voted in the 2013 Cape Coral municipal election in an attempt to garner information for his lawsuit for a recount.

The investigator found two electors who voted in Lee County and in the 2013 Cape Coral municipal election while residing in Charlotte County for the last six years.

Michelle Lee and William S. Lambrigger, witnesses for the plaintiffs in the Sullivan vs. Marni Sawicki lawsuit, stated in depositions, through sworn statements, and on the witness stand, that they voted in elections in which they were no longer eligible to vote, according to Harrington's office.

Harrington was in Orlando on business Thursday, and attempts to contact her were not successful.

The Lambriggers also could not be reached for comment.

Harrington said in a written statement released Wednesday, "Once I was made aware of this situation, I had the obligation, as the supervisor of elections, to take the necessary steps to report what I believed to be a blatant case of voter fraud."

Harrington added the Lambriggers had six years to contact the elections office in Charlotte County.

"In accordance with Florida Law, it is a voter's responsibility to keep his or her voter records up-to-date and current," Harrington said.

According to Florida State Statutes, "A person who commits or attempts to commit any fraud in connection with voting, votes a fraudulent ballot, or votes more than once in an election can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 5 years."

Sawicki won the Nov. 5 election by 121 votes.

Sullivan then claimed that there illegal voters voting, that the composition of the canvassing board didn't meet state statutes and that some precincts may have closed early.

Sullivan's request for a new election was denied by judge Alane Laboda, who also denied a request for reconsideration.

The judge ruled the suit to be meritless and also ordered Sullivan and his co-plaintiffs to pay attorney fees for Sawicki and the other defendants, including Harrington.



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