Pennsylvania State Police Stage Voter Fraud Sting

Company allegedly forging registrations in Keystone State also signed up phony voters in Ohio

by Jim Stinson | Updated 06 Nov 2016 at 2:19 PM

Pennsylvania state police have raided two offices of a voter registration group, just as the election approaches in what could be a crucial state.

Police raided the Philadelphia office of FieldWorks LLC’s office on Thursday after raiding another office in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, just days earlier.

What bothers election watchdogs is that in many cases observed in past elections in Cleveland, both the real person and the phony voter both voted.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the police used a warrant seeking forms that could be used to “construct fraudulent voter registration forms” and “completed voter registration forms containing same or similar identifying information of individuals on multiple forms.”

The Washington-based group has pledged to work with state police, the Inquirer reported.

State Attorney General Bruce Beemer suggested to the Inquirer that the group was employing registrants who were cutting corners to meet quotas. One way to do that is to re-register existing voters with subtle spelling differences in their names.

That technique sounds familiar, because FieldWorks did it in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, according to Logan Churchwell, communications director for True the Vote, the voter-fraud watchdog.

The group had previously signed up phony voters in the Cleveland area, said Churchwell.

And Churchwell agrees that in many cases, the volunteers or the paid staff are looking to meet quotas for new voters. Late Thursday, the Inquirer reported that FieldWorks fired Ruthann Alexander for not meeting an unofficial quota of 18 people per day.

FieldWorks could also claim it registered some persons already on the voter rolls — some persons who forgot they were already signed up. But that doesn't explain why county election officials didn't catch those cases, in Ohio or elsewhere.

Churchwell says identifying information that is supposed to help officials catch that, like the last four numbers of Social Security number, are always off by a digit or two. So the phony registrants stay on the voter rolls.

But what bothers election watchdogs is that in many cases observed in past elections in Cleveland, both the real person and the phony voter voted. Churchwell cannot explain exactly how that was allowed. When Cleveland-area officials were asked why by True the Vote, they did not offer an answer.

On the surface, it sounds like voter fraud. People registered phony people and someone voted as them. But Beemer said it doesn't look like that.

Churchwell says the systems are so weak to find duplicate registrations, even though they are supposed to work, that it happens all the time. Such registration fraud, he said, is easy to commit, and prosecutors don't have time to go after all the cases.

In Indiana, another group was investigated by Indiana State Police. Police raided offices of Patriot Majority U.S., a nonprofit advocacy organization, which signs up voters in urban and black areas.

Liberals immediately cried foul, and reminded people that Indiana's governor is Mike Pence, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's running mate.

They won't be able to make that argument in Pennsylvania, which has a Democratic governor and a Democratic state election officer.

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