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Possible elections violations spur inquiry

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 20, 2000

TAMPA -- The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office will investigate possible election law violations detailed in a Monday St. Petersburg Times story about political activists who helped voters fill out their absentee ballots.

Elections Supervisor Pam Iorio requested the review on Tuesday. Darrell Smith, her director of operations and support, said Iorio always requests the assistance of prosecutors when she gets information about possible elections problems.

The article detailed efforts by Republicans and Democrats to encourage Hillsborough County voters to vote by absentee ballot during the 2000 presidential election.

Three seemingly healthy voters told the Times that Republican activist Isis Segarra filled out their ballots for them. Several relatives of Democratic activist Elio Muller Sr. said Muller filled out their ballots.

Both Segarra and Muller denied filling out ballots, except when a voter really needed assistance, and denied breaking the law.

Florida law says it is a third-degree felony to fill out another's ballot unless that person is blind, disabled or unable to read or write.

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