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Registered Democrat charged with felony for allegedly trying to obtain ballot for deceased wife


'I said well, let me just send it in and see what's going to happen'

Image source: WFLA-TV screenshot

Police in Florida arrested a man last week they say attempted to obtain an absentee ballot for his deceased wife.

What are the details?

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office arrested 62-year-old Larry Wiggins on Thursday, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Wiggins is reportedly a registered Democrat.

Investigators claim Wiggins attempted to procure an absentee ballot for his late wife because he was "testing the system to see if it worked."

The investigation into Wiggins began last month after Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett uncovered the suspicious ballot request, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. Bennett explained that his office discovered the fraudulent request when they conducted a routine check of the voter roll.

Sure enough, Bennett's team quickly learned that it was Wiggins, not his wife, making the absentee ballot request.

"As soon as they pulled up the file it showed that she is dead," Bennett told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Wiggins' late wife, Ursula Wiggins, died in 2018, WFLA-TV reported.

Bennett said of Wiggins, "He wanted to test the system. He did test the system, and guess what? It worked."

Officially, Wiggins is charged "with requesting a vote-by-mail ballot on behalf of another elector, a third-degree felony," according to WFLA.

Wiggins, however, said he never planned to use his deceased wife's absentee ballot.

"I said well, let me just send it in and see what's going to happen to see if they're actually going to send a ballot for her to vote," Wiggins said, WFLA reported.

Wiggins was released from jail Friday on $1,500 bail, the Herald-Tribune reported.

Evidence of voter fraud?

Bennett said Wiggins' alleged actions are not evidence that voter fraud impacts elections.

More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

Bennett, a Republican, emphasized that he will prosecute voter fraud to the full extent of the law, but also that such fraud is rare and that voters can have confidence in the election system. This is the first case of voter fraud Bennett has come across in Manatee County since he took over as the top elections official in 2012.

"The amount of fraud committed in Florida in elections is very small," Bennett said. "People complain that vote by mail is crooked; it's not, we catch them, we verify it and any supervisor of elections in the state of Florida I know is just as conscious about it as I am."

"The amount of fraud is very, very small ... people who think there's a lot of fraud are seriously mistaken," Bennett explained.

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