Former mayor claims voter fraud at beach

St Augustine Beach is attracting more attention today, and not because of the sun and fun we’ve come to enjoy — former Mayor Frank Charles tells Historic City News that he is bringing in the Florida Division of Elections to investigate what he alleges is voter fraud in the November election for City Commissioner.

In documents filed with the Secretary of State, Charles claims that the father of City Commissioner Undine Pawlowski, 68-year-old Michel S Pawlowski, has fraudulently misrepresented his place of residence at the beach, presumably so that her gentleman friend, Edward Stephen George, can pick up another critical vote.

At issue is where Michel Pawlowski lives — he is and has been a registered Republican voter in St Johns County since September 30, 2010; he told the Supervisor of Elections on his application that he resides at 405 “F” Street in St Augustine Beach, making him eligible to vote in St Augustine Beach city elections.

However, according to information Charles has collected from the Internet and made part of his complaint, Pawlowski, in fact, lives at 3432 Red Admiral Court in Edgewater, Maryland — the address where he requested the St Johns County Supervisor of Elections to mail his absentee ballot.

Additionally, Charles provided the state and Historic City News with a copy of the St Johns County Property Appraiser’s property card on the 405 “F” Street address in Coquina Gables subdivision; it is reportedly owned by Donna Giancola.

A signed statement from Giancola corroborates Charles accusation and the public records on the Property Appraiser’s website; saying that Pawlowski does not now live, and never has lived, in her home since she purchased it in 2002.

Historic City News verified with the local elections office that the first time Pawlowski voted in St Johns County was the 2010 General Election — that was the election when his daughter, Undine, was voted onto the city commission; defeating Hester Longstreet.

He also voted by mail, from Maryland, in the Presidential Preference election earlier this year. He requested an absentee ballot be mailed to the Maryland address for the November 6 General Election, and returned it by mail — it was received back at the Supervisor of Elections office October 12, 2012.

According to the local elections office, when Pawlowski came in to register, he told them he was moving from Maryland to the St Augustine Beach address; owned by Giancola. For some unknown reason, on July 5, 2011, Pawlowski changed the address on his voter registration from “F” Street to 9 “C” Street, still within the St Augustine Beach city limits. Shortly thereafter, he changed it back to the “F” Street address; still on file today.

Charles questioned Pawlowski’s eligibility to vote in the St Augustine Beach election when Michel Pawlowski first registered in 2010. The local elections office called the elections office in Maryland to confirm that they had cancelled Pawlowski’s voters registration in that state and allowed him to vote by mail.

The Supervisor of Elections does not have the staff to physically check each of St Johns County’s 150,000 registered voter’s addresses. Many voters receive their ballot mailed to another state, particularly for Primary Elections where voters are on vacation. Thousands of military personnel who vote in St Johns County elections have ballots mailed overseas.

But, according to the elections office, each voter declares under oath that they have a permanent residence within St Johns County — even though they may not live here full time or own property here. The Supervisor told us that her staff will look at driver’s license address, motor vehicle registration address, or addresses on telephone or electric bills, property records, or a copy of a residential lease to establish qualified residence, but, ultimately, she is relying on the representation of the applicant — until she has some reason to suspect otherwise.

Charles believes Pawlowski has violated Florida’s election laws; attaching several pages of Florida Statutes to his complaint. He is asking the State Election officials to investigate to determine what, if any, fraud has occurred to date.

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