October 10, 2016 Newsletter

A James Madison University student allegedly committed voter fraud recently using the identities of deceased people while working to register voters through HarrisonburgVOTES. 

Several weeks ago an organization engaged in registering voters for the upcoming election submitted numerous voter registration applications. A review by the Harrisonburg Registrar’s Office revealed that a number of these registration applications appeared false.

These false reports were originally brought to the commonwealth attorney’s attention by a family member of one of the deceased citizens used for the registrations.

Director of Elections, Deborah Logan, said you can look up yours or your deceased family member's voter registration status online. She said you can also call the voter registrar's office and they can help you as well.

Authorities say the student confessed that he acted on his own for nonpolitical personal reasons when he filed voter registration applications in the names of dead people, not on behalf of the voter registration organization he worked for. FBI Agents are continuing to carefully examine all applications turned in since February by the HarrisonburgVotes registration-drive organization.

Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst said law enforcement is looking in to whether an organization used "a number of" deceased people's information to register to vote.

Before the upcoming election, the Voter Registrar’s Office reports that they’ll cancel the false voter registrations by submitting the list to their Electoral Board.

The HarrisonburgVOTES outfit purports to be nonpartisan, but it is run by Joe Fitzgerald, the chairman of his congressional district’s Democratic Committee, and Mr. Spieles, the accused,   is a member of Virginia Young Democrats.

Democrats are already saying the dead Harrisonburg 19 are no big deal, with Virginia House Minority Leader David Toscano claiming there was no voter fraud because “they caught him” before the votes were cast. Which is like saying it wasn’t a robbery because the thief was caught carrying the TV out of the house.

Democrats push the fraud-is-a-myth theme because it furthers their political goal of portraying any ballot-security measure as racist in order to drive minority turnout. But the integrity of the ballot matters as much as access to the ballot, and every fraudulent vote cancels a legitimate one. With trust in democratic institutions already frayed, the country doesn’t need elections that are tainted by voter fraud, which is no myth.

With roughly a month to go before Election Day, General Assembly Republicans will be holding a meeting next week to discuss concerns about the state’s election system and recent reports of alleged voter fraud.

Several local voter registrars have raised several concerns about the state’s preparedness. Registrars are concerned about the status of the Department of Elections VERIS system, the backlog of voter registrations and absentee ballot applications, and a lack of support or guidance from the department on key issues.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns that I or my Aide, Jenna, can help assist with in any way, please do not hesitate to call me (434) 821-5929 or email at Delmfariss@house.virginia.gov. You can also keep up with me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DelegateMattFariss.

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