INDIANA – The Indiana Voter Registration Project and twelve of its employees are facing charges for allegedly submitting fraudulent voter registration applications ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The Indiana-based group, which focuses on mobilizing and registering black voters, reportedly submitted falsified applications to voter registration offices throughout Marion and St. Joseph counties, according to court documents.
Eleven canvassers temporarily employed by the Indiana Voter Registration Project were charged with one count each of procuring or submitting voter registration applications known to be “false, fictitious, or fraudulent.”
Their supervisor, Holiday Burke, allegedly created and submitted voter registration applications that she knew were forged or falsified. In addition to facing the same charges as her eleven subordinates, she is also being accused of refusing to complete affidavits that are required if applications are believed to contain false information, says Fox 59.
If convicted, each individual could face up to two-and-a-half years in prison, while the Indiana Voter Registration Project could incur a $10,000 fine.
An investigation was initially launched in August after a Hendricks County clerk flagged a number of suspicious registration forms with missing or potentially fraudulent information, and eventually, the investigated spread to 56 counties across the state.
Fox News reports that the Indiana Voter Registration Project is overseen by Patriot Majority USA, a group that has ties to the Democratic Party and has connections to former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and former President Bill Clinton.
Patriot Majority USA claimed to have collected an estimated 45,000 voter registration applications before the general election.
The Democratic-linked group reportedly asked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to determine whether the investigation was an attempt to suppress black voters.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry claimed that no evidence of voter fraud or voter suppression were found during the investigation and alleged that charges against the employees stemmed from “a very bad, ill-advised business practice” of setting a quota for canvassers.
“By giving someone a financial motive to (meet a quota) is what caused these canvassers to cut corners and do things that not only undermined the goal of having legitimate registered voters but let to a situation where we allege it bled over into criminal conduct,” Curry argued.
However, the probe did uncover that employees submitted falsified applications for fake residents, submitted new applications for people who had already registered, and at least one application was submitted on behalf of a minor, stated Curry.
“We do not believe this was a widespread effort to infringe voters, intentionally register ineligible individuals, or to impact the election,” Curry said. “Instead we allege that a bad business practice led to illegal actions by the local association and these twelve individuals.”
The search warrant, unsealed on Nov. 14, 2016, said some workers admitted to falsifying registrations, but for fear of potentially losing their temporary jobs as canvassers if they didn’t register at least 10 new voters a day.
Furthermore, the warrant suggests that Patriot Majority USA unlawfully submitted hundreds of voter registration applications that included false, missing, or fraudulent information, and as such, State Police were permitted to raid the Patriot Majority USA offices last October.
As it stands, Patriot Majority USA has not been formally charged and the group denies any wrongdoing in the matter.
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