Thousands of Lake County voters emailed false information

TAVARES, Fla. — Lake County election officials told Spectrum News that thousands of residents received emails containing false voter information.

In response, Election Supervisor Alan Hays addressed the public on Tuesday to set the record straight on the integrity of mail-in ballots.

What do you want to know

  • Thousands of Lake County voters have received an email from the Lake County Republican Party questioning the integrity of the county’s mail-in voting system
  • Hays said only Lake County voters who requested an absentee ballot received one.
  • He told Spectrum News that the language used in the emails undermined voters’ confidence in the integrity of the election.

Officials said misinformation and voter mistrust were at an all-time high.

In Lake County, Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays said after a decade in politics, these issues are new challenges facing his office.

“You can tell by my looks – I’ve lived a long time,” Hays told Spectrum News. “And I’ve never seen it this bad, I’ve never heard of it being this bad. I think it’s shameful that political parties behave this way.”

He said the Lake County Republican Party and sent an email to thousands of people questioning the integrity of the county’s mail-in ballot. In the emails, Hays said he found blatant lies about the election process.

“I will not sit idly by while individuals and organizations erode the trust or repetition of this office and the more than 800 loyal workers who work tirelessly in every election,” he said.

In 2020, Lake County had 90,000 mail-in registered voters — this year, 50,000 are registered to vote by mail. Of these, 18,000 are registered as Republicans.

Hays said the only people who receive mail-in ballots are those who requested them. If someone changes their mind and decides to vote in person, Hays said he will receive a provisional ballot that the canvassing board will approve or not.

“This irresponsible dissemination of false information, otherwise known as lies, is in no way constructive,” he said.

Hays said he informed the new election crime task force about the spread of misinformation. He also asks for an apology from both organizations.

Several members of Lake County Republicans and showed up at the press conference. They told Spectrum News they stood by their email and disagreed with Hays’ assessment of the letter-writing campaign.