Charges filed in Harrisonburg voter fraud case
Charges have been filed in connection to a Harrisonburg voter fraud case.
According to documents filed Thursday in federal court, Acting U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle claims Andrew Spieles "did attempt to knowingly transfer an identification document, authentication feature, and a false identification document, to wit, Virginia Voter Registration Forms, knowing that such document and feature was produced without lawful authority, and the transfer of the identification document, authentication feature, and false identification document was in or affected interstate commerce."
Spieles intends to plead guilty. His next hearing is on June 20.
Last fall, in the months leading up to the 2016 election, Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst said the FBI and Harrisonburg Police were
released by the United States Magistrate Court for the Western District of Virginia says Spieles had been working to register voters in Harrisonburg since October 2015. In April 2016, Spieles worked for the New VA Majority group, earning $150 compensation for filling out registration forms with individuals registering to vote.
Spieles started working for Harrisonburg Votes for $350 a week in July 2016.
On August 15, 2016, the General Registrar for Harrisonburg noticed an irregularity in voter forms. An assistant recognized the name of a deceased father of a Rockingham County Judge, Richard Claybrook Senior. The family confirmed he was dead and that no one else with that name lived at the address.
Another assistant also recognized an irregularity with the name of a registrant. The witness called family members. They said the middle name, birth date, and social security number were wrong.
HarrisonburgVOTES was informed about a police investigation into voter fraud on August 15. At that time, Spieles suggested another employee submitted the forms. The following day, he admitted to a witness he was the one to submit the forms.
As of September 16, HarrisonburgVOTES told WHSV Spieles was no longer working for them. Their stated goal is to "encourage young people to register to vote."
On August 24, 2016, Spieles admitted to investigating officers that he had falsified registration forms. The statement of facts said "Spieles stated that he fabricated registration forms by using the name and address from the walk sheets, creating a birth year by calculating backwards from the age listed on the walk sheet, randomly picking a month and day for the birthday, and created fictitious social security numbers."
Those "walk sheets" referred to contain a geographical snapshot of a portion of a neighborhood. The sheets in question contained info entered by the Virginia Democratic Party, including names, ages, and addresses.
The document also says Spieles admitted to fabricating all 18 forms himself, and had no help from others.
He told attorneys he made the forms because he worried about meeting the registration quota set for him after he had done well getting people to register at the start of the year, but was struggling later on. He stated his intent was simply to have those forms be entered into the system but never make it to the Registrar. But he knew that HarrisonburgVOTES regularly delivered the forms to the Registrar's office.
on May 22 and will go before Magistrate Judge Joel C. Hoppe on June 20 for a hearing to enter the guilty plea.