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Florida man accused of requesting mail-in ballot for dead wife

"I feel like I haven't done anything wrong," said the Sarasota resident and registered Democrat.

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Updated: October 5, 2020 - 3:31pm

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Police have charged a Florida man with a felony, alleging he had requested a mail-in ballot for his wife, who died in 2018.

Sarasota resident Larry Wiggins, 62, a registered Democrat, said he was simply testing the system.

After being charged and released from jail, Wiggins told Tampa's WFLA-TV, "I heard so much about ballots being sent in and people just having found them in different places. I feel like I haven't done anything wrong."

According to the arrest report, election officials received two applications for vote-by-mail ballots for Wiggins and his wife, Ursula Wiggins, who died in 2018.

Manatee Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett said staff did a routine check and found "notable discrepancies in the handwriting on the ballot request form when compared to the signature they had on file," the TV station also reported.

Wiggins admitted that he sent the application, but said he wasn't trying to impersonate his late wife's signature.

"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,'"

“It really maybe hasn't set in on me totally," Wiggins told the TV station, adding that while he's a Democrat he supports President Trump.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the veracity of mail-in voting. 

Bennett, for his part, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: "He wanted to test the system. He did test the system, and guess what? It worked."

"The amount of fraud committed in Florida in elections is very small," Bennett also 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."

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