Local officials and experts say no need for public to worry after governor’s voter registration was changed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Famous faces across the nation have experienced voter fraud and, among the list, is Florida’s own governor.
Governor Ron DeSantis showed up to the polls only to find his address had been changed.
But this was not someone hacking into a website: Instead, Anthony Guevara was arrested for accessing a public portal that anyone can make changes to.
With the election just six days away, voters are now wondering if this could happen to them.
While it is fairly easy to switch someone’s address, local officials say you should not be concerned. Changing an address illegally does not happen often, because it comes with a hefty price tag; a third-degree felony.
Blake Dowling, CEO at Aegis Business Technologies, a business that specializes in technical support, says when he heard the news, he was surprised and, like many, thought the worst.
“Everyone’s thinking breaches, hacks, Russians, what’s next? And this was none of those things," he said.
It was Governor DeSantis experiencing fraud.
According to arrest documents, on Monday, DeSantis was said to have entered the Leon County Courthouse to cast his ballot when he found his address had been changed to the West Palm Beach home of YouTube Star Nicholas Perry, better known to his more than two million followers as Nikocado Avocado.
“I would say this is an anomaly," shares Dowling, "There is no benefit for a criminal to do this kind of thing, so why would this thing happen?”
According to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Earley, all you need to change an address on your voter registration is a first name, last name, date of birth and a check of the box that asks if you agree to the terms and conditions listed.
Again, Earley shares fraudulent changes are rare, so voters should not be worried.
“The ability to correct the change is fairly simple," Earley said. "We do this all the time. Certainly I would not want anyone to think this is a prank phone call. Let’s see who we can mess with. It’s a third-degree felony.”
From his Naples home, Anthony Guevara also accessed records of Lebron James, Michael Jordan and Florida Senator Rick Scott.
Earley says they have safeguards to make it easy for voters and tough on criminals, “If you make it difficult to change addresses then you make it difficult for people to do an address change and vote, and so it’s a balancing act.”
And while voters may be wary, State Attorney Jack Campbell says this was an isolated incident, “This should not cause you to doubt the ability of Mr. Earley, or the State of Florida or the country for that matter, ability to have a fair election next week. This person is going to be prosecuted with criminal charges because he committed fraud but in no way did he compromise even a single vote.”
Governor DeSantis was able to vote that same day, he verified his identity and changed his address correctly.
Dowling says some good practices is to have complex passwords, but more importantly use a fake birthday on social media.
Rick Scott’s office responded Wednesday with the following statement:
Senator Scott has already voted by mail and was not affected. He has spoken to law enforcement officials in Florida and appreciates their hard work to protect the integrity of Florida’s elections.
WCTV did reach out to Lebron James and Nikocado Avocado via Twitter.
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