• Man accused of stealing, forging absentee ballots in 2016 arrested

    By: Jason Kelly

    Updated:

    ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - A 36-year-old Casselberry man who stole, forged and turned in about five absentee ballots to the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections office in the days leading up to the 2016 election was arrested Wednesday, the Altamonte Springs Police Department said.

    Investigators were called to the Spring Valley subdivision near West State Road 436 and Wymore Road on Oct. 31, 2016, after several residents reported their mail ballots were stolen and forged, police spokeswoman Evelyn Estevez said.

    "The fraudulent ballots were collected and analyzed for possible evidence," Estevez said. "A fingerprint match and DNA evidence linked Bret Warren, 36, to the stolen ballots."

    Read: Official: 5 stolen absentee ballots cast in Central Florida

    Two of the victims called elections officials after reading in a neighborhood newsletter that some ballots were stolen from mailboxes, a police report said.

    Warren told investigators that his parents used to live on Buttercup Circle, which is near the homes where the ballots were stolen, the report said.

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    Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel said his office reviews each mailed absentee ballot it receives.

    "These were flagged as potentially not being returned by the voters as the signature on the outside of the mail ballot envelopes did not match the signature we have on file for the impacted voters," he said in an emailed statement. "After discovery of this issue, the affected voters were allowed to cast provisional ballots, which were counted."

    Warren was booked into the Seminole County Jail on charges of voter fraud.

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