St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

UCF students report being tricked into party switch

Associated Press
Published October 20, 2004

ORLANDO - Students at the University of Central Florida and two community colleges claim they were duped into switching their party affiliations from Democratic to Republican, campus police officials said Tuesday.

Fewer than 10 students have filed reports with UCF police saying they were approached by a middle-aged couple in the student union who asked for support in changing child molestation laws.

The students filled out a form asking for personal information, and later received a notice from the county elections supervisor's office that their party affiliation was changed, said Sgt. Troy Williamson, a spokesman for UCF police.

Similar incidents have occurred at Valencia Community College in Orange County and Seminole Community College, he said.

"They thought they were signing a petition to change child molestation laws," Williamson said. "They didn't realize they had changed their political party."

All the cases involved Democrats being switched to Republicans, Williamson said. He said the party switch won't affect their ability to vote in the Nov. 2 election. UCF police officials sent an e-mail to students Monday and Tuesday warning them about the incidents.

Williamson said it would be up to the State Attorney's Office or federal prosecutors to determine whether a crime was committed.

Margaret Dunn, Orange County's senior deputy supervisor of elections, said her office had no additional information.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.