INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) — Indiana State Police are investigating after a private voter registration outfit allegedly was caught filing fraudulent voter registration forms.
The group, the Indiana Voter Registration Project, has employed canvassers to walk the streets in Indianapolis and approach people to ask if they are registered to vote, the Indianapolis Star reported. If they are not, the group, which told the Indianapolis Star it is non-partisan, then offers to register the individual by giving them a registration form to fill out.
State police said officials in at least two counties have found 10 voter registration forms that appear to have been filled out fraudulently by the group. The forms included a change of address for voters, but did not have other critical information needed to complete that change, including a Social Security number or date of birth.
The practical effect, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, would be to enable the person committing the fraud to apply for an absentee ballot in the voter’s name without their knowledge.
Hendricks County Clerk Debbie Hoskins, a Republican, said her office found discrepancies on several forms and notified Indiana State Police.
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said concerned voters can check their registration status online at indianavoters.com, or with their local county clerk’s office.
“Election integrity and security is a top priority,” Lawson said. “We are working with the state police to ensure this matter is addressed quickly. I encourage all Hoosiers to be vigilant at this time and to monitor their voter registrations until the close of the voter registration deadline.”
A spokeswoman for the Indiana Voter Registration Project said they had actually notified county clerks about inaccurate or incomplete registration forms and asked them to follow up with the voter.
“We sincerely hope that no one in a partisan elected position is using their office in an effort to make it harder for the people of Indiana to vote,” spokeswoman Christy Setzer said. “The Indiana Voter Registration Project is a non-partisan effort to ensure that all Indianans who are eligible to vote can do so. As part of its quality-assurance program, the Indiana Voter Registration Project has reviewed tens of thousands of applications and identified a small handful that may have had incomplete or inaccurate information and, in those instances, we immediately informed the registrar and asked them to double check those forms for accuracy.”
A canvasser who spoke to an Indianapolis Star reporter outside the group’s office said he was trained to ask people if they are registered and, if not, give them a form to fill out and collect it when they were done.
It was not immediately clear where the group got its funding and whether canvassers were paid on an hourly or per-registrant basis.
A manager from the Indiana Voter Registration Project, Kamir Aziz, declined to answer a Star reporter’s questions about the irregularities. Shortly after the reporter left the group’s office, employees began leaving and said the group had closed the office for the day. Employees were told they were not allowed to speak to the press.
Calls to a phone number Aziz provided to the Star reporter to direct follow-up inquiries went unanswered.
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