"(Staff Attorney Bennett Miller) will do his background of the case, then he’ll bring it back to me for review and I’ll decide," he said. "There is no time frame typically. He has to do his own due diligence. Partisan politics play no role in evaluating a case."
It took a day to refer the Oct. 4 complaints against the Education Fund and the Florida Democratic Party to the FDLE. It took two days to refer a La Raza complaint to the FDLE.
Yet it took 16 days for an earlier case against La Raza to be sent to the FDLE. It wasn’t announced until after the RPOF case was already reported.
As for that RPOF case, it took longer to get reported and referred to the FDLE.
Lee County’s voter registration director first saw suspicious forms filed by a vendor on behalf of RPOF in late August. She didn’t notify the state of the forms until Sept. 20. It wasn’t publicly known that Lee County had any issues with RPOF forms until a wider fraud case involving the same vendor was reported by media Sept. 28.
"I would have liked to have heard about that sooner," said Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County’s supervisor of elections, who discovered flawed RPOF forms in her county on Sept. 18 and helped spark the investigation.
Submitting false voter registration information is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
"There’s not going to be a singular reason as to when cases are reviewed," Cate said. "Every case is different. The people reviewing it, I don’t know what their schedules are."
Wakefield and Gallardo say their organizations follow strict procedures to prevent filing incomplete, incorrect or fraudulent forms.
"We went over all of our processes and asked, ’Do we have any problems we don’t know about?’ We couldn’t come up with anything," Wakefield said. "We know the scrutiny is really high, but anyone can file a complaint. Doesn’t mean it’s valid. That’s why we want to know what it is."