2016-10-18 / Front Page

ISP investigation of voter fraud makes it’s way to Owen County

Staff Report

In August of this year, the Indiana State Police (ISP) began an investigation of the alleged filing of fraudulent voter applications. Just last week, the investigation was expanded to include seven more counties, taking the total to nine.

After the execution of a search warrant was performed at the business offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project in downtown Indianapolis, the list grew even further.

Late last week, it was announced that the total number of counties in Indiana has grown to 56 and now includes Owen and the surrounding counties of Clay, Greene, Morgan and Monroe.

According to press releases provided by the ISP, “An investigation of this nature is complex, time consuming and is expected to continue for several more weeks or months.

“In accordance with state law, all voter registration applications received by Indiana voter registration offices are processed according to established policies.

“A representative sample of voter registration applications received by county voter registration offices suspected of being fraudulent have been copied and provided to state police detectives. In all cases the original applications are maintained by the appropriate voter registration office.

“The expanded number of counties involved leads investigators to believe the total of potentially fraudulent records may be in the hundreds, thus creating a potential to disenfranchise many voters.

“The possible fraudulent or false information is a combination of made up names and made up addresses, real names with made up or incorrect addresses and false dates of births with real names as well as combinations of all these examples.

“Victims of the activities by some agents of the Indiana Voter Registration Project may not discover they have been disenfranchised from voting until they go to vote and realize their voting information has been altered. Such action may result in the citizen having to cast a provisional ballot.

The ISP press release also noted that it is normal practice for the agency to refrain from providing detailed updates on active investigations, however, this exception if being made due to the deadline for Indiana voters to register or update their voter registration information by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11, 2016.”

The Spencer Evening World reached out to the Owen County Clerk’s office for comment on this potentially important matter.

“We’ve contacted the state election division,” Owen County Clerk Linda Roy said. “We are number 56 on the list, but that doesn’t mean that there is any fraud going on in our county. Anyone that has any questions is more than welcome to call the office and check their registration.”

Hoosier voters, around the state, are encouraged to check the accuracy of their voter information by visiting https://indianavoters. in.gov. If you discover inaccurate information that indicates you could be a victim, contact their your voter registration office at 812-829-5015 as well as the 24 hour Indiana State Police Voter Registration Application Fraud tip line of 888-603-3147.

If you have questions, you are encouraged to contact the Indiana Secretary of State office, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., by calling 1-866-461-8683.

The ISP press release also stated, “While it is recommended all Indiana voters should confirm the accuracy of their voter registration information, it is especially prudent for voters who live in the listed counties to verify their voter information. At this point of the on-going investigation it is not possible to determine the number of registered voters that may have been negatively impacted by recent voter registration drive efforts.”

Counties included in the investigation include: Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Daviess, Dearborn, Decatur, DeKalb, Delaware, Dubois, Elkhart, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, and Owen.

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