Larry Wiggins, 58, was arrested by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
According to information released by the sheriff's office, Wiggins requested two vote-by-mail ballots from the supervisor of elections, one for himself and one for his wife.
Elections officials noted that the writing style and signatures on the ballot application did not match the wife's original voter registration. After further investigation, they discovered that the woman died in 2018. The case was reported to the sheriff's office later.
Wiggins later admitted that he mailed his deceased wife's application for a vote and told detectives that he was "testing the system to see if it worked."
The Florida State Attorney's Office reviewed this case and agreed to charge the suspect with soliciting a vote by mail on behalf of another voter, which is a third degree felony.
Attorney General William Barr said in early September that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting a large number of voter fraud investigations: "I know there are several investigations at this time in the states, some very large," he said. Barr in response to a question about how many allegations of voter fraud the DOJ has filed.
Barr said he didn't know the exact number. At least 32 people were criminally convicted of voter fraud in 2019, according to a database maintained by the conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation.
The landscape of this year's elections is very different from 2016. More voters are able to vote by mail due to the coronavirus, and Democrats have fostered a massive push for unsolicited vote-by-mail ballots.
The actual number is likely much higher because some states have yet to report their early voting totals, while others count early votes locally, according to Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who maintains the data.
Around the same time, during the 2016 election, only 9,525 voters cast their ballots, according to McDonald.
Thousands of mail-in ballots are rejected in every US presidential election. This year, that problem could be far worse and potentially decisive in many contested states. If votes are rejected at the same rate as it was during this year's primaries, up to three times as many voters could be rejected in November in key states compared to what was recorded in past presidential elections, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of rejected votes.
According to a recent USA Today / Suffolk poll, 56% of Republicans say they will vote in person, against 26% on the Democratic side.