Voter Registration Group Accuses Governor, ISP Of Suppressing Votes
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Governor Mike Pence and Indiana State Police say they are not suppressing votes by investigating voter registration fraud claims.
Indiana State Police raided the Indianapolis offices of Patriot Majority USA on October 6 in relation to a voter fraud case in 56 Indiana counties. Those include Dearborn and Franklin counties.
The investigation into Patriot Majority began in August when police learned of fraudulent voter registration forms filed in Marion and Hendricks counties. State police said the possibly fraudulent information included registrations made under false names and addresses. The number of voters affected could number in the thousands.
In new radio advertisements, Patriot Majority USA accuses Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana State Police of suppressing votes. Patriot Majority calls itself the runner of the state’s largest registration program of African Americans.
“Mike Pence is using the Indiana State Police to harass African American voters and prevent them from voting in this November’s elections. This partisan use of a law enforcement agency is one of the biggest scandals of this political year, because these officers, at the direction of Pence and Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson, have declared war on the civil rights of tens of thousands of their own citizens,” said Patriot Majorty USA president Craig Varoga.
The organization accused the state police of crippling its voter registration drive in the final weeks before last week’s registration deadline. The rights of registration workers, it said, were violated when they were denied legal representation while detained by police during the raid which led to Patriot Majority USA’s offices being closed for several days.
In a statement, Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd called Patriot Majority USA’s allegations “completely false and beyond absurd.”
“In fact, the Indiana State Police has uncovered strong evidence of voter fraud by Patriot Majority USA. Among Governor Pence’s top priorities is ensuring the integrity of the election and that every single Hoosier vote counts. He has full confidence in the Indiana State Police investigation to achieve this goal,” Lloyd said.
Indiana State Police Captain Dave Bursten, the agency’s chief public information officer, echoed Pence.
“Every allegation by Patriot Majority USA against the Indiana State Police is completely false. In fact, it is clear from evidence documented to date that we have uncovered intentional acts of fraud by representatives of Patriot Majority USA,” said Bursten. “The Indiana State Police is charged with enforcing the laws of the state of Indiana and we are determined to protect the integrity of the election and every citizen’s right to vote.”
Prior to the October 11 voter registration deadline, voters in the affected counties were urged by the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office to check their voter registration information for accuracy. Any resident whose registration may have been altered but did not update it before the deadline may have to cast a provisional ballot for the November 8 election.