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Search warrant: Indiana Voter Registration Project employees falsified information to meet quota

Posted: 3:46 PM, Nov 07, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-09 05:53:10Z

Correction: This story initially stated Indiana State Police released the search warrant. The warrant was in fact obtained Monday by Call 6 Investigates from Marion County Superior Court.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Some Indiana Voter Registration Project employees may have fabricated voter information and filled out registrations for people who were already registered to vote to meet a daily quota, according to a search warrant obtained Monday by Call 6 Investigates.

The warrant stems from an investigation that began in August and which eventually grew to 56 Indiana counties.

Possible misconduct by the Indiana Voter Registration Project (IVRP), run by the liberal-leaning Patriot Majority USA super PAC, was reported to Indiana State Police after county clerks began receiving registrations that were found to be "very sloppy and missing information."

A subsequent investigation found dozens of voter registrations in Madison, Lake, Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock and Johnson counties had missing or incorrect voter information or signatures that didn't match those on record. Some of the registrations were found to have been filled out for residents who were already registered to vote.

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Some of the voters whose names appeared on the registrations told police they hadn’t spoken with anyone from the Indiana Voter Registration Project and didn't recognize the name of the IVRP employee who signed the forms as a witness.

State police conducted a raid at the Marion County office of the IVRP in early October. A visit by officers to the reported location of the Gary office of the IVRP found it to be a vacant lot.

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An IVRP employee told investigators that the organization bused part-time employees to "historically underrepresented" neighborhoods and paid them $50 for a five-hour shift. The employee said there was no quota for registrations.

Several current and former IVRP canvassers disputed that.

One canvasser told police that there was "pressure on the canvassers to register ten people per shift, and if they failed to reach this number they would not be allowed to work again." That canvasser allegedly admitted to fabricating voter registrations for five people in Indianapolis to meet the quota.

Another canvasser told police there was a 25-application quota per shift, but that "at least ten would keep you working:"

"Canvassers were required to call their supervisors every hour during a shift and advise them how many applications they had at that point. [Canvasser] said the supervisor said the supervisor would counsel canvassers that if they did not get enough applications they may not be working the next day. [Canvasser] said [supervisor] told canvassers, 'You don't hear it from me, but make sure that you receiver at least 10 registrations in a shift.' And then he would add 'by any means necessary' and then laugh it off."

A third canvasser reportedly told police she took credit for between 10-15 applications where she did not speak to the resident:

"[Canvasser] stated, 'I was given a few of them and I signed my name to them.' [Canvasser] indicated that sometimes she re-registered voters that told her they were already registered to help get her quota for the day. [Canvasser] said sometimes at the end of a shift while driving in the van with canvassers and supervisor present, canvassers were directed by a supervisor to check boxes on applications that were missing information. The purpose for doing that was because incomplete applications were not counted towards the quota."

Patriot Majority USA says it has been "publicly demonized" by Indiana officials and requested last month to have the search warrant unsealed.

After Call 6 Investigates obtained the search warrant Monday, a spokesperson for the organization released this statement:

"Patriot Majority USA is a respected organization dedicated to voting rights and fair elections. Today's selective leak of sealed court documents is both suspicious and outrageous given that it is less than 24 hours before the election. It is disturbing, to say the least, that the very first story by Channel 6 claimed that the source of the search warrant was the Indiana State Police. If this selective leak of sealed court documents was deliberate, it is misconduct and would constitute a contempt of court order. It should also be noted that the police and other authorities have copies of the organization's manual, which clearly states that quotas were not part of the program and clearly states that falsifying information of any kind is not allowed and is punishable by law."

This story initially stated that Indiana State Police released the search warrant.  The warrant was in fact obtained Monday by Call 6 Investigates from Marion County Superior Court.

The Indiana Voter Registration Project submitted more than 27,000 voter applications in Marion County alone, according to state police. Police did not report how many of those are believed to be fraudulent.

As of Monday, no charges were in the case.

Voters affected by the IVRP investigation will need to cast a provisional ballot.

To make sure you haven't been affected by voter registration fraud, confirm your registration at  indianavoters.in.gov.

If there is inaccurate information, call the Indiana State Police Voter Registration Application Fraud tip line at 888-603-3147.