NEW PORT RICHEY (970 WFLA) -- The Pasco elections office is getting irritated by ongoing voter registration efforts by two national groups... because they send out applications to those who aren't eligible to vote... because they're too young, deceased, or pets.
It's an ongoing squabble between election supervisors and independent registration groups that goes back at least to 2008.
Brian Corley says his office gets calls every time the Voter Participation Center and Center for Voter Information send out registration applications... some of them distraught. Corley says misdirected registration forms send the wrong message, especially with concerns about foreign attempts to hack the elections system and spread chaos in 2018.
"I don't doubt their motives are pure... but at the end of the day, when (we're) at the end of the call with an upset constituent, they have no idea what it is like to be in the trenches and have to deal with that upset voter," Corley said.
Responding to Corley, Paige Gardner, president and CEO of VPC, says they have to use outside lists, including commercial lists, because the state doesn't produce a database of unregistered citizens who are eligible to vote.
"We use a variety of lists, some of which are commercial... people sign up for magazines or whatever, using pet names... Is there some very, very little issue with the data? Of course... there is with any database."
Gardner insists her organization is transparent in its mailings. "... in terms of who it's coming from, (and) the fact that we are a nonprofit 501 (c) 3," she said.
Gardner says VPC has registered half a million voters in Florida alone. She thinks Corley, instead of complaining about calls caused by misdirected forms, should concentrate on registering the 150,000 remaining people who are eligible to vote in his county.