Gambling petition by fraud
Florida-based casino operator, Las Vegas Sands, had caused a stir when it tried to use a petition to win a referendum. However, the campaign cost around $50 million and is now casting shadows on the operator. There is increasing talk of relevant numbers of signatures being forged. The goal of the self-orchestrated campaign was supposed to be a change in Florida's gambling legislation, but the drama is now emerging. The media are unanimous in reporting that this could be election fraud on a particularly grand scale. Things are about to get messy for Las Vegas Sand, assuming the allegations turn out to be true.
Gambling petition through election fraud?
While there are still U.S. citizens who doubt the righteousness of the last presidential election and are convinced that the actual president should be Donald Trump, things are getting tight for someone else entirely in Florida. U.S. journalists Lawrence Mower and Marry Ellen Klas are on the trail of a red-hot case. Their research so far shows that the Florida petition may be an election fraud scandal.
In the Miami Herald, the duo took a closer look at the current petition. The point behind the action is to allow gambling operators to offer gambling in Florida in the future, similar to the Las Vegas model. Currently, this is only made possible on tribal land, and here the monopoly lies with the Seminole Tribe, the operator of the Hard Rock Hotel and gambling chain.
The Las Vegas Sand petition calls for casinos to be allowed across Florida - even if only with mandatory masks, as in Vegas. To protect Seminole Tribes' offerings, a 130-mile distance from existing establishments is to be maintained in this regard. In addition, a proposed amendment would allow permits for three new casinos, including online, where new customers can learn about new slots and How to Buy Teen Patti Chips to offer their services in Florida.
A prerequisite for the petition to be approved is that at least 891,589 valid signatures have been counted by the deadline of February 1. In this case, the petition will reach Ballot Measures as early as February 22 and will thus go to a direct vote on the constitutional amendment.
A petition signed by deceased
The journalist duo reports on completely overloaded election officials, facing several thousand forged documents, responsible for counting the gambling petition. Incredibly explosive: during the counts, election officials encountered more signatures of deceased people. In Marion Counts, election official Wesley Wilcox even had to face his signature, which, however, he had never provided.
Opponents of the petition criticize above all that the casino operators pay the collectors of signatures not according to working hours but according to the number of signatures collected. Since 2019, this practice has been prohibited in Florida.
Everything points to a competitive battle between Las Vegas Sands and Seminole Tribe. While Las Vegas Sands is investing several million in pushing through the change in gambling requirements, the Seminole Tribe is investing equally large sums in preventing the change. Naturally, this impacts the overall population, which is increasingly splitting into two camps. Either way, however, the business remains lucrative simply because of the industry's record sales in 2021.
Cash per signature? What does an autograph earn?
Las Vegas Sands strictly denies that it wants to improve the number of signatures through financial incentives. However, according to rumors, affidavits already confirm the illegal procedure. One person has explained to the court that he was promised a bonus of USD 450,000 if he collected 25,000 signatures. As a result, it had been possible to achieve total profits of up to USD 2.7 million.
Another statement claims that the actual disposal was legal and hourly, but those bonus payments were promised. Thus, approximately 2,500 USD will flow as a premium for every 300 signatures.
The fact that such offers do not remain inconsequential is to be shown now with the counting in the election offices. Thousands of forms with signatures are said to have been received by election officials, often with votes that could not be verified. Chief Electoral Officer Wilcox also points out that signature forgery is a logistical problem and a criminal offense. Mass fraud could result in prison sentences.
Investigations are only unofficial - no government measures
According to the journalist duo, an official person, Secretary of State Laurel Lee, is taking care of the allegations. They already handed over the first cases to the Attorney General's Office last year, but there seems to be no reaction from there so far. Inquiries were answered because, first, a case examination must take place by another institution. Las Vegas Sands petitioners say they do not know about any activity by the attorney general's office.
If the accusation of election fraud is confirmed, there will be considerable consequences for those responsible. By law, election offices must count all votes received within 30 days. However, due to many forgeries, it seems that late submissions cannot be counted.
The outlook is rather bleak, as the current week's count stands at just 566,000 valid votes. However, to take the step to a referendum, around 890,000 votes are needed, which no longer seem to be within reach.