Thursday, October 18, 2012

Va. Sheriff Investigating GOP Tie To Trashed Voter Forms


A Virgina sheriff confirmed to TPM on Thursday that his office is investigating whether a man seen tossing completed voter registration forms into a dumpster is connected to the state Republican Party.
Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson (R) said his office may make an announcement about the case as soon as Thursday afternoon depending up the outcome of interviews conducted earlier in the day.
His office began investigating after the manager at a Tuesday Morning store in Harrisonburg, Va., allegedly spotted a man on Monday afternoon throwing eight voter registration forms into a dumpster behind the shopping center where he works.
In an interview with TPM on Wednesday, the manager, Rob Johnson, said the man was driving a black Toyota with Pennsylvania license plates. He said he thought he saw the same car parked outside the Republican Party’s Harrisonburg Victory Office the following day. The office is just down the street from the shopping center.
“I spotted the car that the gentleman was driving when he threw the voter registration applications into the dumpster parked in front of the Republican campaign headquarters,” Johnson said.
A staffer at the Harrisonburg Victory Office referred TPM to the Republican Party of Virginia, which has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
Virginia does not register voters by political party, so it would be difficult for someone to discard forms from their political opponents. Rockingham County Registrar Doug Geib said that his office was able to process the recovered forms after receiving advice from the Virginia State Board of Elections.
Johnson said he was contacted by the mother of one of the voters whose forms was filled out. Johnson said the mother told him her son had just turned 18 and had registered to vote at Blue Ridge Community College.
The sheriff said his investigators are looking into Johnson’s story, including the possible ties to the local Republican Party.
“It is an ongoing investigation with no arrests made,” Hutcheson said in an email. “We will issue a formal press release as soon as that changes.”

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